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News Release
 
Commission Adopts First Electric Industry Restructuring Rules
 
August 29, 2000 (2000-042)
 
Contacts: Ron Eachus, Chairman, 503 378-6611; Roger Hamilton, Commissioner, 503 378-6611; Joan H. Smith, Commissioner, 503 378-6611; Bob Valdez, Public Information Officer, 503 378-8962
 
Salem, OR - The Oregon Public Utility Commission today adopted the first administrative rules that will form the nucleus of the electric industry restructuring law (SB 1149) passed by the 1999 Oregon legislature.
 
Under Oregon's law industrial and large nonresidential commercial customers will have direct access to power markets beginning October 1, 2001. Residential and small commercial consumers will get a regulated rate.
 
"This is the first big step in implementing electric restructuring in Oregon in a unique way that is very different from what California and other states have done." said Commission Chairman Ron Eachus. "We are assuring that specific resources will be retained by the utilities that serve customers who won't have access to a competitive retail market."
 
The rules require electric companies to file resource plans by November 1, 2000, to identify which resources will remain in regulated rates to serve their Oregon residential and small nonresidential consumers.
 
The plan must identify and analyze the impacts of implementing the plan, including the effect on load/resource and on rates. Utilities must develop the plan in a public process that allows participation for all affected parties.
 
While indicating support, the Commission postponed action on the proposed process to determine the value of the Oregon share of all generation resources. The Commission sought clarification whether the Commission has the legal authority to use an arbitrator.
 
The unique valuation proposal was developed by a coalition of affected parties including consumer and environmental advocates, commercial and industrial trade associations, OPUC staff, power marketers and Oregon's two investor-owned utilities.
 
The Commission also postponed action on the issue of public purpose costs pending further clarification of the statute by staff. The public purpose provision requires utilities to collect an extra 3 percent of revenues from customers for conservation and renewable energy projects.
 
The rules also include the following elements:
  • Electric companies must provide a cost-of-service option to residential and small nonresidential customers.

  • Nonresidential consumers will be offered one or more standard offer rate options. A standard offer rate option, shall be approved by the Commission, and is based on supply purchases made on a competitive basis from the wholesale market.

  • Nonresidential consumers will also receive an emergency default supply when an ESS is no longer supplying service. Each electric company must file tariffs with the Commission that include the emergency service option.

  • Electric companies and Electric Service Suppliers (ESS) must meet labeling requirements to provide price, power source and environmental impact information to customers. This information will allow consumers to make informed decisions about their choice of electricity supplier.

  • Electric companies will provide a portfolio of product and pricing options to residential customers. The residential portfolio must have at least one product that reflects renewable energy resources and at least one market based rate.

  • The rules require electric companies to provide meter readings to a consumer's ESS for the purpose of billing.

  • Consumers have the option of receiving a consolidated bill from the electric company, unless the consumer chooses to receive separate bills from every individual supplier or a consolidated bill from an ESS.
 
 
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