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News Release
Commission Cuts PacifiCorp Rate Request in Half
January 27, 2010 (2010-001) (UE-210)
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 cut in half a general rate increase requested by PacifiCorp.  The decision trims $46 million from PacifiCorp’s original request to increase customer rates.  Customers will see rates increase overall by 4.6% effective February 2, instead of  the  9.1% the company had sought.
The average monthly bill for a residential customer will go up about $2.81 from $83.14 to $85.95 (or 3.4%) based on using 950 kWh of energy.  Commercial and industrial customers will see rates change by approximately 6.8% and 5.4% respectively. Rates for irrigators will also increase by 5.4%.
“This decision is the product of a stipulated agreement reached between the utility, ratepayer advocates and our staff,” Commission Chairman Lee Beyer said. “While we do not like increasing rates in these economic times, the Commission accepted the agreement because it fairly recognizes PacifiCorp’s growing cost of providing energy to customers and meeting renewable energy goals set by the Legislature.”
The primary driver for the general rate request is PacifiCorp’s new investment in two natural gas plants, three wind farms, transmission and distribution upgrades, and hydroelectric relicensing.  The projects include the Lakeside and Chehalis natural gas plants, and the Seven Mile Hill II, Glenrock III, and High Plains wind farms.
The Commission trimmed the company’s proposed rate of return, general expenses such as insurance, workers’ compensation, pensions and wages and made adjustments to ensure that new sources of energy are not included in rates until they are generating energy.
In all general rate cases the burden is on the company to show that the proposed rate are just and reasonable.
PacifiCorp initially filed its request with the Commission in April of 2009. PacifiCorp’s last general rate case was approved by the Commission in 2007. At that time the Commission approved a 5% increase in place of the 13% hike the utility had requested.
PacifiCorp has approximately 580,000 residential and business customers in Oregon.