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News Release
 
Court-Driven Rate Hikes Approved for Portland General Electric, PacifiCorp, and Idaho Power Customers
 
May 30, 2007 (2007 - 005)
 
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 –The ripple effect of a much-criticized federal appeals court ruling hit home today for residential and small-farm customers of Portland General Electric (PGE), PacifiCorp and Idaho Power when the Oregon Public Utility Commission (OPUC) reluctantly approved a rate hike to take effect on customers’ bills Friday, June 1, 2007.
 
“This is a distasteful thing to be forced to do. Unfortunately BPA’s decision to cut off customers of private utilities from the benefits of the Columbia river hydro system made this action necessary,” Commission Chairman Lee Beyer said.  “We remain hopeful this action will be temporary and benefits will be restored in the near future. How soon and by how much, no one can say with certainty, but we continue fighting aggressively on several fronts to ensure that BPA benefits are distributed fairly throughout the region.”
 
Rates for PGE and PacifiCorp residential and small farm customers will increase by 13% effective June 1, 2007. A typical PGE residential bill will go up by $10.66 a month.  A typical PacifiCorp residential customer bill will increase by $9.62 a month.  Customers of Idaho Power will see rates rise by 6%, or by $6.54 a month.
 
The suspension of payments will cost Oregon customers $351,000 a day or $128 million a year.
 
“This unexpected rate hike will be especially hard to absorb for the thousands of fixed-income and low-income Oregonians,” Beyer added.
 
The BPA Regional Power Act Credit flowed directly to residential and small farm customers. Commercial and industrial customers are not affected by the suspension of benefits.
 
The court did not direct the BPA to suspend payments but on May 21 BPA notified all privately-owned utilities that BPA was suspending payments due in part to the uncertainty and legal liability concerns created by the court’s decision.
 
The Commission believes that BPA has the discretion and flexibility to correct the wrong created by the Ninth Circuit Court,” Chairman Beyer added.  “We also suggest that individual customers call or write their representatives in Congress with their concerns about this unfair rate hike and urge them to get involved in crafting a regional solution.”
 
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