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News Release
Commission Rejects PGE Request to Increase Rates
March 2, 2004 (2004 - 004) (UM - 1071)
Contacts:  Lee Beyer, Chairman, 503 378-6611; John Savage, Commissioner, 503 378-6611; Ray Baum, Commissioner, 503 378-6611; Bob Valdez, Public Information Officer, 503 378-8962
Salem, OR – The Oregon Public Utility Commission has rejected a Portland General Electric’s (PGE) request to collect an estimated $26 million or roughly a two percent increase from ratepayers due to a water shortage in 2003.
The company claims poor hydro conditions last year forced it to buy more expensive energy on the open market. Hydro is generally a less expensive source of energy.
"In this case, the cause of PGE’s request is not extraordinary enough to justify recovering the money from ratepayers," Commission Chairman Lee Beyer said. "Anyone familiar with the region knows hydro conditions vary from year to year and over time, shortfalls and surpluses have a way of averaging out."
PGE asked the Commission to recover the amount through a deferred accounting mechanism. However, the Commission said the request is not extraodinary enough to have customers pay for the shortfall. The Commission noted a mismatch of hydro costs and benefits at a particular point in time is already assumed when rates are set.
"When we weighed the evidence we concluded this event does not have a significant impact on the company’s financial condition," added Chairman Beyer.
Industrial Customers of Northwest Utilities (ICNU) and the Citizens’ Utility Board (CUB) opposed PGE’s request.