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News Release
Commission Approves PGE And PacifiCorp Energy Exchange Tariffs In Response To Pressing Energy Conditions
December 8, 2000 (2000-056)
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 - In response to expected cold weather and likely high energy demands, today in a special public meeting the Oregon Public Utility Commission approved new tariffs for two of Oregon's investor-owned electric utilities, Portland General Electric (PGE) and PacifiCorp, designed to reduce demand and lessen the prospect of energy shortages.
Under the tariffs, the utilities will be able to ask qualified large industrial users to voluntarily reduce their electricity usage, at times requested by the companies, in exchange for payments based on prevailing market prices. Customers are free to decide whether or not to take service under the new rider.
"It's important to have this load reduction option in place given the weather forecast for extremely cold weather next week," said Commission Chairman Ron Eachus. "This gives the utilities and customers the flexibility to reduce net power costs and increases general reliability."
The tariffs allow industrial users to share in savings the utilities receive when they do not have to go to the wholesale market to purchase energy when electricity costs are high.
Commission staff said the action reduces the likelihood the utilities and the region will have to involuntarily curtail load during periods of high demand for electricity.
Commission Roger Hamilton said, "It's a great idea to focus on the demand side, this has been long in coming."
"It's clear there is an urgent need to act," added Commissioner Joan Smith.
The Commission expedited the requests due to recent events in the electricity market. Wholesale prices for electricity and natural gas are unusually high, supply is tight due to plant outages and hydro conditions, and weather forecasts call for below normal temperatures in the near future.
The Commission earlier this year approved PGE's energy exchange rider. The Commission decision today modifies PGE's tariff in order to increase participation.
PacifiCorp's electricity exchange rider is brand new and is nearly identical to PGE's.
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