The Grant County Public Utility District has passed a new rate increase for cryptocurrency miners in Grant County, Washington, according to reporting from King 5 News. Rates for those mining operations will increase by 50 percent, phased in over the next three years.
Public utility district commissioners met last week to discuss the issue. At that meeting, Commissioner Tom Flint said, “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.”
PUD justified the rate hike as a way to offset the “extra risk” and allow the utility to continue to provide subsidized rates for consumers and more traditional business entities:
Grant County PUD said the new rate compensates the district for extra risk and makes “evolving-industry” customers pay more to subsidize below-cost rates for residential, irrigation, and small and medium-sized business customers.
As expected, crypto miners and investment stakeholders had tried to resist any rate increase. At last week’s commission meeting, they suggested that PUD’s analysis was flawed. Retired business owner Ed MacDonald reportedly suggested that the new rates could force those mining operations to close their doors:
“It just doesn’t seem right that all the people who have come in here and invested a lot of time and money, and now you can change the rules kind of in the middle of the game and force them out of business.”