HomeOregon NewsPacific Power files for significant rate adjustment affecting customers, citing wildfire risks...

Pacific Power files for significant rate adjustment affecting customers, citing wildfire risks and need for renewable energy expansion

Oregon – After launching an innovative energy program designed to benefit residential customers across Oregon and Washington, Pacific Power has now initiated a formal request for a rate adjustment with the Oregon Public Utility Commission. This move, aiming for a 16.9% rate increase, translates to an additional $29.47 per month for the average consumer, based on typical energy consumption patterns. The utility company anticipates that this adjustment will generate an extra $304 million, earmarked for crucial advancements in wildfire risk management, infrastructural upgrades, and the integration of renewable energy sources.

Addressing the Need for Investment

Matt McVee, Pacific Power’s vice president of regulatory policy and operations, emphasized the company’s ongoing commitment to delivering high-quality service at costs that have historically been lower than the national average. However, the escalating threat of extreme weather events and wildfires necessitates substantial investments to ensure the continued provision of safe, reliable, and affordable energy. McVee stated, “While our essential operating costs remain low, extreme weather events and increased wildfire risks are impacting all households and businesses, raising the costs of providing our essential services.”

Underlying Reasons for the Rate Hike

Pacific Power outlined several key drivers behind the proposed rate increase:

  • Transmission Infrastructure: The investment in transmission infrastructure is crucial for integrating new renewable resources to meet the growing demands of customers.
  • Renewable Energy Expansion: The utility is continuing its commitment to low-cost renewable energy resources, reinforcing its role in the transition towards a sustainable energy future.
  • Financing Operations: The rate increase also reflects the need to finance utility operations adequately, taking into account current market conditions and the risks associated with utility management.
  • Wildfire Risk Management: A significant portion of the proposed funding is directed towards wildfire risk management. This includes covering escalating wildfire insurance premiums, implementing comprehensive wildfire mitigation strategies, managing vegetation to reduce fire risks, and establishing a catastrophic fire fund to manage the financial implications of increased wildfire activity.

Pacific Power’s proposal is under review by the Oregon Public Utility Commission.

Booker Whitfield


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