Pacific Power files for Oregon rate hike; if PUC approves, residential rates would increase by 14.3%

0

PORTLAND, Ore. (KTVZ) – Pacific Power filed a general rate case with the Oregon Public Utilities Commission on Tuesday, along with its annual electricity cost forecast, which, if approved, would be the first general increase in utility rates in nearly a decade. and would increase residential customer rates by a total of 14.3%, the utility said.

General rate case, which proposes an overall rate adjustment of 6.6%, or $82.2 million (9.1% for residential customers), supports continued investment in wildfire mitigation strategies , vegetation management and clean energy resources, while responding to inflationary impacts. If approved, it would be Pacific Power’s first general rate increase in nearly a decade.

“Through careful management on behalf of our customers, we have provided safe, reliable and affordable service at prices 12% below the national average,”[1] said Matt McVee, vice president of policy and regulatory operations. “While our essential operating costs continue to remain low, new factors – including extreme weather events and changing economic conditions that affect all households and businesses – are increasing the costs of providing our essential services. ”

The company’s annual electricity cost forecast (Transition Adjustment Mechanism or TAM) is submitted at the same time as the tariff file. Initial forecasts show electricity costs will rise for the first time in five years, if approved. The proposed increase of 5.6% (5.2% for residential customers) in rates in effect in 2023 is mainly due to inflationary pressures linked to increases in wholesale electricity and natural gas prices. The final approved TAM tariff for 2023 will be updated in November with the most recent forecast prices for wholesale power and natural gas.

The utility said the proposed MPR increase is well below the U.S. consumer price index for the energy sector and energy services, which rose 27% and 13.6%, respectively, in course of the last 12 months.[2] The increase in TAM is lower in part due to Pacific Power’s expansion into low-cost, carbon-free renewable resources and its participation in the Western Energy Disbalance Market (EIM).

EIM provides access to even more low-cost, carbon-free energy across the entire western US market while reducing emissions and increasing reliability. Since Pacific Power helped form EIM in 2014, it has provided its Oregon customers with $102 million in savings through the end of 2021 and $24 million in expected profits in the TAM 2023.

“We are in a period of significant change. We are investing in the security, adaptability and resilience of our energy grid and building a net-zero emissions energy future,” McVee said. “Meanwhile, we remain true to our commitment to our customers and our communities and will continue to seek new ways to reduce impacts on customer bills along the way.”

Pacific Power Plans offers new rate discount for low-income customers

Later this year, Pacific Power plans to work with the commission to develop an on-bill rate reduction to support customers experiencing revenue restrictions. This will be separate from the current rate process to allow for faster adoption of the proposed rate reduction, allowing the utility to mitigate the impact of the proposed rate increase for the most vulnerable members of its community.

Audience participation

The public review process for a general rate case can take up to 10 months. During this time, the public can give their opinion on the case. The commission has the power to set final rates which may be lower or higher at the company’s request, depending on the outcome of its review. The public is also invited to attend public meetings. To learn more, visit: oregon.gov/puc/utilities/Pages/Rates-Tariffs.aspx.

Customer Resources

Pacific Power’s most vulnerable customers can access various billing assistance programs through local community action organizations, including the Oregon Energy Fund, Oregon Energy Assistance Program, COVID Energy Assistance Program and Home energy assistance program for low-income people. In 2020, more than 30,000 Pacific Power customers in Oregon received $13.8 million in bill payment assistance.

Pacific Power also offers a variety of ways to budget for energy expenses, including usage time and equal pay billing options and energy usage tracking offered online and through the company’s app. In partnership with Energy Trust of Oregon, Pacific Power customers can access information and rebates to improve their energy efficiency and lower their bills. Customers can call 1-888-221-7070 to discuss options.

About Pacific Power

Pacific Power provides electric service to more than 770,000 customers in Oregon, Washington and California. It is part of PacifiCorp, one of the lowest-cost power generators in the United States, providing 1.9 million customers with value for their energy dollar through safe and reliable electricity. For more information, visit www.pacificpower.net.


[1] Source: Edison Electric Institute, sales and revenue data for the 12 months ending June 2021

[2] Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, January 2022

Share.

About Author

Comments are closed.