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News Release
Commission Sets Rates for Klamath Falls Irrigators
April 12, 2006 (2006 - 005) (UE 170)
Contacts: Lee Beyer, Chairman, 503 378-6611; Ray Baum, Commissioner, 503 378-6611; John Savage, Commissioner, 503 378-6611; Bob Valdez, Public Affairs Specialist, 503 378-8962
Salem, OR – Today the Oregon Public Utility Commission issued a decision to replace historically low rates enjoyed by some 2000 irrigators in the Klamath River basin effective April 16, 2006.    The change will move Klamath irrigators, over seven years, to rates similar to those paid by other PacifiCorp irrigation customers.
The Klamath irrigators are currently served by two historic contracts that provide rates of less than a penny per kilowatt. Other PacifiCorp irrigation customers are currently paying 6.98 cents per kWh.
The amount of the increase will vary among different customer classes. They include On-Project, Off-Project and Governmental pumping customers.
Under the Commission order, in the first year, On-Project users will pay .82 cents per kWh up from .60 cents, and Off-Project users .99 cents up from .75 cents.
“We listened carefully to arguments and I believe this is a fair and equitable path we’ve chosen,” Commission Chairman Lee Beyer said. “The phase-in will ease the transition to new rates while at the same time giving us additional time to thoroughly examine the option of rate credits.”
To avoid rate shock, the new rates will be phased-in over seven years.  The phase-in is required under Senate Bill 81, which was approved by the 2005 Legislature.  SB 81 prevents rates from being increased by more than 50 percent per year.  The mitigation results in a revenue shortfall of approximately $1.7 million which will be spread among PacifiCorp’s other customers.
The Commission order provides irrigators the opportunity to seek future rate credits based on quantifiable operational benefits to PacifiCorp’s hydroelectric system.  The transition to new rates will provide additional time to obtain evidence and develop methodologies required to accurately assess the benefits provided by Klamath Basin irrigators. If requested, the Commission may consider the appropriateness of rate credits during a review of the annual adjustment filing by PacifiCorp to further the transition to standard rates.
 The Klamath Basin is located in southern Oregon and northern California and encompasses the area drained by the Klamath River and its tributaries.
Water diverted into the Klamath Basin project canals irrigates over 200,000 acres, on which farmers and ranchers grow crops and raise livestock. The irrigators pump, divert and circulate water for irrigation, and return water to the Klamath River for electric generation.  PacifiCorp operates seven hydroelectric dams on the Klamath River.
Organizations representing irrigation customers and other interested parties such as the United States Bureau of Reclamation, U.S. Department of Fish and Wildlife, Commission Staff, the Oregon Natural Resources Council, Water Watch, and the Hoopa Valley Tribe participated in the rate case.
PacifiCorp serves approximately 1,400 On-Project irrigators and 700 Off-Project irrigators.
Link to full order on PUC website: