Deal approves $216 million for Idaho utility’s expenses

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Idaho officials have approved an agreement allowing a utility company’s $216.5 million in relicensing expenses for a three-dam hydroelectric project on the Snake River on the Idaho-Oregon border.

The Idaho Public Utilities Commission issued the order on Friday that allows Boise-based Idaho Power to include the costs involving the Hells Canyon Complex in customer rates at a future time. That rate increase would take a separate request from Idaho Power.

The company in December 2016 requested about $220 million to cover relicensing costs that started in 1991.

The company’s 50-year license with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission expired in 2005, and it has been operating the dams under annual licenses renewed each August.

A relicensing sticking point is that Oregon officials want salmon above the dams, while Idaho officials don’t.