Washington State Crypto Miners Face Increased Electricity Cost
Chelan County proposed increasing the price of electricity for cryptocurrency miners to address electricity demand spikes in the rural community.
Chelan County is considering increasing the price of electricity for cryptocurrency miners. Under the proposed changes, the cost of demand spikes due to cryptocurrency mining will be paid by the miners themselves.
According to Central Washington radio station KPQ, the Public Utility District (PUD) of the rural Washington state community recommended a new rate structure for cryptocurrency activities in an attempt to address increased electricity demand within the county.
“This rate structure is built the same way as the existing rate structure that cryptocurrency miners are paying right now,” Lindsey Mohns, Customer Utilities Rate Adviser, told the radio station. “What this new rate structure does is bring 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.”
Kimberlee Craig, Public Information Officer of Chelan PUD, explained that the county is determined to capture the cost of increased demand, as well as to protect expenses of customer who have invested in the system. The expenses, according to Craig, include covering “the accelerated cost of infrastructure investment in our system”.
The new rates were unveiled on November 7, and quickly drew the attention of the local cryptocurrency community. At a meeting with the PUD, crypto investors voiced their displeasure with the proposed measures, and accused the agency of ‘making up their mind’ without consulting with the community first.
“Looking at it in a bigger picture it’s not just mining but services that can happen around that. We have the opportunity to become a [fintech hub],” said Denton Meier, part owner of Silicon Orchard, a crypto-mining company. “With rates that price us out of that ballgame, it’s not that root that we need to then grow those other businesses, so that will happen elsewhere.”
According to members of the crypto community, the proposed changes would also affect only small-time business owners, as hedge funds have the capital to continue operations even with increased costs. Many crypto investors also threatened to ‘take their business elsewhere’, should the proposed measures be implemented.
However, this is not the first time similar measures have been implemented to address the increased demand cryptocurrency mining brings to rural areas. In 2018, numerous US communities such as the cities of Salamanca and Plattsburgh in New York State heavily limited or outright banned crypto mining operations on their territories.