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Chelan County PUD Proposes New Power Rates, Crypto Miners Fight Back

Last Updated March 4, 2021 3:10 PM
Jimmy Aki
Last Updated March 4, 2021 3:10 PM

In its effort to pass down the constantly increasing cost of power demand, Washington’s Chelan County Public Utility District (PUD) has proposed a new electricity rate for cryptocurrency region in the county.

As reported by local radio station KPQ , the new rate is contentious as miners believe the new structure is unfair to their businesses, while also feeling that the county officials did not include them in the decision making process.

Customer Utilities Rate Adviser Lindsey Mohns, who was quoted by KPQ in the article said the new pricing structure was modeled after the current pricing structure (Schedule 35) in use currently by miners. Going forward to explain the difference, she stated:

“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.”

The Public Information Officer of the Chelan County Public Utility District, Kimberlee Craig weighed in, arguing that the proposed rate covers the market realities and protect the infrastructures “for the customers that are already here and invested greatly in our system.”

The Chelan PUD had held a stakeholder meeting to announce the proposed rate structure on November 7, 2018, where members of the cryptocurrency mining community had registered their displeasures at the new rates.

Denton Meier, a part owner of mining company Silicon Orchard, conveyed the agony of the miners on being left out of the decision-making process.

“I think it’s nice to be able to, but it seems like they’ve already made up their mind. What’s been missing is a round-table discussion and more of a brainstorming session. How can we affect the local economy, how can we work together? Let’s create a business-case scenario and include the PUD in that,” he noted.

The miners, however, sounded a warning to the district, stating that approval of the new rate would leave them with no choice but to move their operations to other favorable locations within the U.S.

Chelan County has never had it smooth with miners operating in its county. Earlier this year, as per CCN.com reports, the county’s PUD had enforced a moratorium against mining companies that were running unauthorized mining operations due to the abundance of cheap power in the region. The moratorium led to the county ramping up security due to safety concerns of its staff from a group of irate miners, at the time.

The PUD went as far as to threaten unregistered individuals and companies caught running an unregistered mining operation with fees, cutting off power and the involvement of the police. The county also suggested the installation of automated meters, as a measure to help them fish out those using the power resources for mining without a license to do so.

Featured image from Shutterstock.