Douglas County PUD is changing power rates for the largest bitcoin minors in the county. 

The changes approved by PUD commissioners this week apply to eight customers that use 500 kilowatts or more. 

PUD spokesperson Meaghan Vibbert says the change is being made because the bitcoin minors have been inconsistent in their power usage. 

"We saw a reoccurring pattern since about 2019 where these larger bitcoin miners might turn off their load for a period of time," said Vibbert.  

She says the inconsistency in power usage presents problems for the utility. 

“If we go out and purchase power to cover those loads and they’re not there, we schedule for them and they don’t happen, that causes us to take on risk that isn’t necessary.” 

Starting in January, the biggest bitcoin minors will be required to pay a minimum charge if they shut down operations. 

The charge will be 80% of the customer's maximum metered demand during the previous 12-month period. 

The PUD identified the eight bitcoin miners that use 500 kilowatts to be subject to the charge, which will not apply to 19 smaller bitcoin miners who use less than 500 kilowatts. 

Image from Douglas County PUD
Image from Douglas County PUD

The minimum charge, which will be implemented starting in January of 2024, is designed to incentivize the larger users to keep their loads steady. 

Vibbert says the PUD went through a thorough process before deciding on the change. 

There was a five-week public comment period on the proposal. The PUD then met with the affected bitcoin minors and, according to Vibbert, and used some of their ideas to draw up the minimum charge. 

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