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Updated: Jun 21

Douglas County PUD has announced a revision in power rates specifically targeting the largest bitcoin miners within the county.

The decision, sanctioned by PUD commissioners, will affect eight customers consuming 500 kilowatts or more. Meaghan Vibbert, PUD spokesperson, explains that this change is necessary due to the inconsistent power consumption patterns exhibited by these bitcoin miners. "Since approximately 2019, we have noticed a recurring trend among these major bitcoin miners, where they intermittently switch off their power usage," Vibbert stated. This unpredictability in power usage creates complications for the utility company. Vibbert adds, "When we procure power to accommodate these loads and they fail to materialize, it exposes us to unnecessary risks."

Starting from January, the largest bitcoin miners will face a mandatory minimum charge if they suspend their operations. This charge will amount to 80% of the customer's highest recorded power demand over the past year. The PUD has identified the eight bitcoin miners utilizing 500 kilowatts or more as the targets for this charge, exempting the 19 smaller miners consuming less than 500 kilowatts.

The introduction of the minimum charge in January 2024 aims to motivate larger users to maintain a consistent power load. Prior to implementing this change, the PUD underwent a comprehensive process, including a five-week public comment period and consultations with the affected bitcoin miners. Vibbert emphasizes that some of the ideas suggested by the miners were incorporated in formulating the minimum charge policy.

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