Rural Washington County Utility Proposes Increased Electricity Costs for Crypto Miners

Washington’s Chelan County Public Utility District (PUD) has proposed a new electricity pricing structure for cryptocurrency miners meant to pass down the cost of increased electricity demand, Central Washington radio station KPQ reported Nov. 14.

The article cites Lindsey Mohns, the Customer Utilities Rate Adviser, explaining the difference between the current and proposed electricity pricing systems, noting that the rate structure is “built the same was as the existing rate structure that cryptocurrency miners are paying right now”:

“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 Chelan PUD, Kimberlee Craig, explained that the district “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.”

According to KPQ, by “investments” Craig was referring to PUD’s fixed expenses, including covering the “the accelerated cost of infrastructure investment in our system.”

On Nov. 7, when the Chelan DUP unveiled the proposed new pricing system, “many members of the cryptocurrency community expressed their displeasure at the proposed increased costs,” according to KQP.

In April, the Chelan PUD reported that it had caught unauthorized cryptocurrency miners and ordered the staff to enforce a moratorium on cryptocurrency mining. Chelan county’s ban on crypto mining isn’t the only such development in Washington, as the city of Ephrata has also recently imposed a one year ban on new cryptocurrency operations.

There have been similar moratoriums internationally, with the Quebec government lifting its temporary ban on electricity sale to miners at the end of May.