Idaho Power fluctuating billing cycles: 'It's just not right'

BOISE, Idaho (KBOI) - KBOI 2News received a phone call from a viewer worried they were overpaying on their power bill because Idaho Power will sometimes charge for up to 33 days in a month.

After doing the math, it turns out you could technically end up paying a higher rate on those couple of extra days, but Idaho Power said the costs balance out in the end.

Idaho Power acknowledges that their billing cycles fluctuate between 28-33 days. Karen Bruner said she notices those months with extra days often pop up on her bill during the heat of summer or in the middle of winter.

"It's bad enough that we go through a tough August," Bruner said. "It costs a lot of power, takes a lot of power to keep our homes comfortable."

Bruner said something doesn't add up when you do the math, because Idaho Power uses a tier system.

Basically, that means you'll pay a certain amount for the first 800 kw of power that you use each month. Then, you pay more for the next 1,200 kw you use. Bruner says tacking on a couple of extra days could put you over into a third tier, where you'd pay even more for power even though you're not necessarily using more than your daily average.

"It's especially the people teetering on the tiers, those people teetering on that tier are the ones most affected," Bruner said.

Bruner said even if you end up paying that higher rate, most people wouldn't even notice the price jump on their bill because it's usually not more than a couple of dollars.

"You might only see a $1-2 difference, and that drops right to the bottom line of Idaho Power, those extra billing days."

Idaho Power tells KBOI that the money doesn't go into their bottom line, but eventually balances out on your yearly power bill total.

"One customer in this particular month might have a 33 day bill, the next month that same customer may have a 28 day bill," Idaho Power customer service manager Maggie Brilz said. "But there is no windfall, no extra money that gets collected through this process."

Idaho Power said the billing cycles fluctuate because meter readings aren't taken on weekends or holidays. Brilz said by the end of the year, you'll be billed for 365 days, and that all costs will balance out.

If you want to check the amount of power you're using down to the hour, you can sign up for Idaho Power's Account Manager program here to make sure you don't end up paying more than you want to.