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The Idaho Public Utilities Commission has approved Idaho Power Co.'s plans to ramp down two of its demand-response programs. The programs - one geared toward residential customers and the other toward irrigators - provide financial incentives to customers to use less power during times of peak demand.

Under the A/C Cool Credit program, participating residential customers were credited $7 for each of three summer months to allow Idaho Power to remotely cycle air conditioners on and off during peak periods. For the Irrigation Peak Rewards program, Idaho Power was able to turn off irrigation pumps through the use of an electric switch connected to customers' electrical panels.

Idaho Power says it has enough generation to meet peak demand and that suspending the programs will save customers the approximate $5.5 million it spent during 2012 on the A/C Cool Credit program and $12.3 million on Irrigation Peak Rewards. The costs of the programs are passed on to customers through the annual power cost adjustment surcharge updated every June 1.

In a compromise from the company's initial application to suspend the programs for 2013, the reduced-down programs will give the commission and interested parties one year to review how the programs should be designed in the years ahead.

Due primarily to the economic downturn, Idaho Power now claims its generating plants can meet peak demand in the summer months at least through 2016, eliminating the need for the programs.

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