The Energy Planning and Management Program requires Western customers to periodically submit Integrated Resource Plans (IRP) or an approved alternative - Minimum Investment Report, Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Report or Small Customer Plan.
The IRP must evaluate the full range of alternatives to provide adequate and reliable service to a customer’s electric consumers at the customer’s or member’s lowest system cost. Ideally, the planning process assesses new generating capacity, power purchases, energy conservation and efficiency, cogeneration and district heating and cooling applications and renewable energy resources. Robust public involvement should be a part of the process, as well, allowing the utility to share upcoming challenges with its consumers and to get their input on solutions that best address the community's diverse wishes and concerns.
In 2011, Western implemented three revisions to its IRP rules: