BIA Announces First Proposed Electric Rate Increase Since 2006 by San Carlos Irrigation Project in Arizona

COOLIDGE, AZ – The Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) announced that, due to increased costs of delivering electrical utility service, the San Carlos Irrigation Project in Arizona is proposing an increase in electricity rates, effective Jun. 1, 2022. This will be the first rate increase for San Carlos Irrigation Project Power Division customers in 16 years.

“The San Carlos Irrigation Project’s proposed rate increase is one that must be considered given the last rate increase was 16 years ago and operating costs have continued to rise,” said BIA Director Darryl LaCounte. “The project is the sole provider of electricity to Indian and non-Indian customers in some of the communities it serves, and this proposed rate increase will help us continue to meet our power obligations to them.”

The proposed increase was published in the Federal Register. BIA will hold a series of meetings to discuss the proposal with stakeholders, including an online public comment meeting. Affected parties have 60 days from the date of publication to comment on the proposal.

The project’s power division relies only on customer collections, not congressional appropriations, for all its costs. The proposal is based on a cost-of-service study. The proposed rate increase will support routine operating expenses and replenish emergency reserves, which were depleted by large, unexpected regional power supply costs last year.

The San Carlos Irrigation Project Power Division supplies electricity for residential, governmental, irrigation, commercial and industrial customers in Gila, Maricopa, Pima and Pinal counties. Approximately 83 percent of the project’s customers are non-Indians. The customers are located in 10 Arizona communities, including those within the San Carlos and Gila River Indian Reservations. Residential customers, who make up most users, will see rate increases of 5 percent under the proposal. Commercial, industrial, and irrigation customers will see rate increases of 15 percent to 39.6 percent.

The Bureau assesses electric power rates to customers in accordance with federal regulations for reimbursement to its operation and maintenance costs funds.