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News Release
 
Portland General Electric Customers to Receive Rate Reduction; PacifiCorp to Wait
 
March 20, 2008 (2008-007) (UM 926)
 
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 Commissioners paved the way to lower rates for most customers of Portland General Electric (PGE). The Commission ordered PGE to sign an Interim Relief agreement that will allow benefits from the Federally-owned Columbia Hydro system, that were cut off last year, to flow again to thousands of residential and small-farm customers.
 
Based on the Commission decision, and assuming no legal challenges prevent BPA from going forward with the proposed agreement, PGE will file to reduce rates on and after April 15, 2008. 
 
The average residential customer using 900 kWh a month will likely see a 6.3% or $5.50 reduction.
 
“We are encouraged to see some progress in partially rolling back the rate hike customers were hit with last year. Is it enough?  We don’t think so.“ Commissioner Lee Beyer said. “We will continue to actively advocate for Oregon to equitably share the benefits of the low-cost federal hydro system.  We have intervened in BPA’s current rate proceedings and will demonstrate that the benefits offered by BPA fall short.”
 
The decision directs PGE to execute the Interim Agreement with BPA. The interim agreement calls for benefits of $43.2 million for 2008. The amount is not permanent. The amount of future benefits will be set in ongoing formal proceedings being held by the BPA.
 
In May of 2007 a Federal Court ruled the previous benefit agreements were not lawful.  Based on the court decision BPA stopped paying benefits customers had been receiving. This forced the Commission to approve new rates.
 
The Commission did require that PacifiCorp not execute the Interim Agreement with BPA.  BPA proposes that nearly all of any interim benefits provided to PacifiCorp be returned to BPA with interest.  For 2008, BPA forecasts that PacifiCorp is not entitled to any substantive sharing in the low-cost federal system given PacifiCorp’s low cost generation system.  The Commission said it does not seem reasonable to provide rate credits that may be returned, with interest, several months later.
 
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