Low energy prices from the local hydroelectric plant attracted many cryptocurrency miners to Grant County, Washington. But it seems like the gravy train may soon hit the buffers as authorities announced a series of price hikes.
International Business Times reports that a late-August meeting saw the Grant County Public Utility District (PUD) vote-in a new rate for “evolving industries.” However, this euphemism is specifically targetting cryptocurrency mining following the recent influx.
The new “Rate 17′” increases the base cost of electricity by 15 percent as of 1 April 2019. An additional 35 percent jump will follow a year later, with a further 50 percent added in 2021. When compounded, this makes a total increase of around 130 percent.
PUD commissioner, Tom Flint, told the cryptocurrency miners who showed up at the meeting:
Your industry is unregulated and high-risk. This is the best way to ensure our ratepayers are not impacted by this unregulated, high-risk business.
Issues arise when the increasing demand from miners stretches the limits of the local grid. A large-scale mining operation could need three times the energy required to power the whole town.
This requires investment from utility companies and leads to higher operating costs, with no guarantee of the longevity of the mining operation.
The imposition of higher rates for such companies tries to ensure that small business and residential customers can still benefit from low-priced electricity.
The PUD made clear that they were not anti-cryptocurrency-mining, favoring the staged implementation of the rate change as it lessened the impact for miners already established in the town.
They also felt that planning the phase-in over three years would give them time to observe how prospective clients responded to the plans.
Said Commissioner, Larry Schaapman
I don’t view miners as villains […] You have likened yourselves to the data centers, but you can only do one thing — mine bitcoin.
Excessive power consumption and cost looks like continuing to dominate the mining industry discussion well into the future.
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