A new electricity pricing structure has been proposed by the Washington’s Chelan County Public Utility District during a Public Information meeting earlier this month. These changes come after the increase of cryptocurrency mining that the Washington state has experienced since earlier this year.
The state of Washington is one of the biggest producers of hydro-electric power in the United States, which in itself keeps the price of electricity to one of the lowest in the country. It comes with no surprise that the state has experienced a boom in crypto mining since the beginning of this year for exactly this reason. But this could soon end.
Such a move was observed earlier this year in Grant County (Washington), where the Public Utility District approved an increase to prices of electricity targeted at crypto mining. One of the main reasons given by the PUD was that the increase in demand from miners is putting a strain on the local electrical grid.
The Customer Utilities Rate Adviser of Chelan County explained the proposed rate structure:
This rate structure is built the same way as the existing rate structure that cryptocurrency miners are paying right now, which is referred to as Schedule 35. What this new rate structure (Schedule 36) does is brings into it a market consideration on the energy price because we will have to purchase power on the market to serve the variable load associated with cryptocurrency.
Kimberlee Craig, the Public Information Officer for the Chelan PUD, further explained:
Chelan PUD is addressing (the rate structure) in a way that captures the cost and protects the investment for the customers that are already here and invested greatly in our system.
The aforementioned investment refers to the fixed expenses of the PUD, which include the wear to the grid that the extra power capacity brings with it.
Denton Meier, owner of a mining company, shared with the local news radio KPQ:
I think it’s nice to be able to make comment but I seems like they’ve already made up their mind. What’s been missing is actually a round-table discussion and more of a brain storming session.
Other members of the local mining community expressed their displeasure with this proposal, and even though the Chelan PUD is open to comments, the community does not think it’s possible to change the viewpoint of the authorities.