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Klamath Basin Irrigation Rate Phase-in Ends



April 12, 2013 (2013-02)
Contacts:  Susan Ackerman, Chair, 503 378-6611, Stephen Bloom, Commissioner, 503 378-6611, John Savage, Commissioner, 503 378-6611, Bob Valdez, Public Affairs Specialist, 503 378-8962 
Salem, OR.  The phase-in of new electric rates to replace historically low rates enjoyed by some 2000 irrigators in the Klamath River basin ends effective April 17, 2013.  The expiration of the phase-in means Klamath irrigators will pay the same rates as those paid by other Oregon PacifiCorp irrigation customers.

The Klamath irrigators were served by two historic contracts at rates that began at less than a penny per kilowatt hour.
Rather than put the new rates into effect all at once, the 2005 Oregon legislature decided in SB 81 that the new rates would be phased-in over seven years.

“I’m sure irrigators are well aware that the phase-in is coming to an end,” said Commission Chair Susan Ackerman. “The phase-in helped mitigate potential rate shock and eased the transition to new rates that are more in line with what other PacifiCorp irrigators are paying.”
The new average cost per kilowatt hour is 10.2 cents, which is slightly less than the average residential rate of 10.8 cents.

The Klamath Basin is located in southern Oregon and northern California and encompasses the area drained by the Klamath River and its tributaries.

Water diverted into the Klamath Basin project canals irrigates over 200,000 acres that farmers and ranchers uses to grow crops and raise livestock. The irrigators pump, divert and circulate water for irrigation, and return water to the Klamath River for electric generation.

The issue attracted comments from organizations representing irrigation customers and other interested parties such as the United States Bureau of Reclamation, U.S. Department of Fish and Wildlife, Commission Staff, the Oregon Natural Resources Council, Water Watch, and the Hoopa Valley Tribe.

PacifiCorp serves approximately 1,400 On-Project irrigators and 700 Off-Project irrigators.
This contentious issue was decided as part of PacifiCorp’s 2005 (UE 170) general rate case.