Idaho irrigation

A pivot irrigation system in Jerome, Idaho. More irrigation last year boosted Idaho Power's bottom line, the parent company reported.

Higher demand for electricity among irrigators helped Idacorp Inc. increase companywide earnings in 2018, the Idaho Power parent reported Feb. 21.

“Continued strong customer growth in Idaho Power’s service area along with constructive regulatory outcomes and a return to more normal irrigation sales contributed to the 11th straight year of earnings growth at Idacorp,” President and CEO Darrel Anderson said in a news release.

Snowpack and streamflows in much of the company’s service area returned to more normal levels in 2018 following the previous year’s unusual highs.

Boise-based Idacorp said a decrease in sales to residential customers in 2018 was partially offset by an increase in irrigation usage. Milder temperatures compared to those of the previous year caused a 6 percent decrease in electricity use per residential customer, mostly for heating and cooling.

But decreased precipitation in 2018 led the agricultural irrigation segment to use 9 percent more electricity per customer to operate pumps.

The company reported 2018 net income of $226.8 million, or $4.49 per diluted share, up from $212.4 million, or $4.21 per share, in 2017.

Idacorp stock (NYSE: IDA) traded at $98.55 at midday Feb. 21 compared to a one-year range between $80.29 and $102.44.

field reporter, SW Idaho and SE Oregon

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