A group of nine crypto firms in the Washington County, USA, have filed a suit against the Grant County Public Utility District (Grant PUD) for imposing what they call an “evolving industry” rate which supposedly focuses on cryptocurrency-mining operations.
In a statement by the Grant PUD, it said that they were in process of filing a response to the suit, which claims that that the public utility had been irrational by consenting to the new rate.
The fare hike which reportedly comes into effect on April 1, will increase power rates for crypto firms by around 15%. According to the PUD, the rate will go up by another 35% in 2020, followed by another 50% in 2021. This decision was stimulated by a very high number of service requests for power supply by cryptocurrency firms.
The Grant PUD commissioners have reportedly agreed to levy this hike in order to protect the interest of around “46,000” core customers from the alleged “risks” of cryptocurrency mining activities. The Grant PUD said:-
“Similar to the pricing for current large industrial customers, the new policy requires these emerging businesses to pay more, so core residential, irrigation and commercial customers can continue to pay below-cost rates.”
The “evolving industry” rate has been established for those businesses
– whose revenue comes from “unreported and uncertain” sources;
– whose ability to maintain future payments cycles in the long term is uncertain;
– who are vulnerable to great fluctuations of output;
– who face the risk of ceasing of operation due to unclear regulations; and
– who could make for a potentially large power sink in the area.
The topic of BTC mining requires a huge amount of energy, which is a challenge to the sustainable energy model. The decision for the rate hike was taken after discussions between county commissioners and representatives of the firm.
Grant PUD, like some other counties in Washington, generates power from hydropower and wind power. The Chelan and Franklin County PUDs in Washington had reportedly disallowed applications for power supply from digital miners last year.
The decision has obviously not gone down well with crypto firms, who might question the necessity and timing of the fare hikes, given that mining operations have not remained highly profitable anymore and the number of mining operations already have shrunk in the past year itself. The direct impact of this can be seen on the falling cryptocurrency prices worldwide.