Over the past few years, we’ve seen low electricity rates in central Washington state prove attractive to bitcoin miners, but those days may soon be coming to an end.
News coming out of both Chelan and Grant counties suggests that an electricity price hike may very well be on the horizon.
A negative effect on bitcoin miners
Bitcoin miners use specialist equipment that eats up a lot of electricity, which has seen those who wish to carry out the procedure opt for parts of the world where power rates are lower, ensuring higher profits.
The public utility districts in both Chelan and Grant counties are looking at hiking up costs quite considerably, and this is sure to have an effect on bitcoin miners.
One such miner spoke to KUOW, a news station in Puget Sound, Washington, and claimed that these higher rates would end up driving him out of the county.
Thomas O’Connell is one of many bitcoin miners in the state of Washington, and he commented that he’s “25 years in this county, originally born here. I don’t want to have to leave.”
“I don’t want to have to move my business. I’d like to continue to put that money I earn back into the county. But it doesn’t seem like I am going to be able to.”
During a public hearing to discuss the matter, the Chelan PUD board decided to maintain its current course to vote for higher electricity rates for bitcoin miners later this year. O’Connell and others who spoke at the meeting were unable to sway them.
An unregulated and high-risk industry
Nearby Grant County has already decided to go down this route as well.
As of writing, there are moratoriums in place on the use of new bitcoin mining rigs.
In Chelan County, the proposed rates for bitcoin miners will work out at around 8.5 cents per kilowatt-hour for home-based bitcoin miners and a shade over 6 cents per kilowatt-hour for industrial and commercial setups.
The rates mentioned above are around double the regular residential and commercial rates currently in place and would come into effect on April 1 of next year.
Grant County PUD commissioners voted unanimously to implement a new rate that is roughly triple current rates, also coming into effect on April 1 of next year.
Commissioner Tom Flint addressed those bitcoin miners who attended the vote, saying “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.”
Early signs are that the higher rates will merely drive bitcoin miners to more business-friendly pastures, including other Northwest communities which are served by cheaper hydropower.
Lover of all things crypto, blockchain and AI, professional tech scribe & part of the editorial team at Crypto Disrupt.