Oregon – Skyrocketing prices, inflation, and sky-high interest rates are the terms everyone got used to in the last two years. But it looks like this trend of financial difficulties and struggles for millions of Americans won’t end anytime soon. For some Oregon residents, things are most likely going to get even worse since they will most likely pay nearly 20% more for electricity starting next month. And more changes are on the horizon in the coming months.
Starting in 2024, people using electricity from Oregon’s two biggest providers will have to pay more. This is due to the annual changes the companies are making to manage their energy expenses.
Customers of Portland General Electric, specifically those living in residential areas, will face a rate hike of 18%. This is a bit more than the company predicted in November. Back then, the Oregon Public Utility Commission agreed to let PGE adjust its rates annually for electricity supply and other regular utility expenses.
The main reasons for this price rise are increasing costs due to inflation and the expenses of electricity. Additionally, the company is spending on its infrastructure to make their service safer and more reliable.
Drew Hanson, who speaks for PGE, mentioned that the company was initially expecting a 17.2% increase. However, this number changed because of some ongoing updates and additional costs related to electricity that weren’t settled yet.
Hanson explained that the commission approved these “end-of-year power cost adjustments” on Monday, which resulted in a total increase of 18%. However, the final amount customers pay might change a little, depending on decisions the commission will make on December 28.
A typical customer of PGE, who uses about 795 kilowatt hours each month, usually pays around $130 monthly. With the new rate hike, this amount is expected to go up to approximately $153.
PGE also had another plan that would have raised customer bills by 2% to cover expenses for preventing wildfires. But Hanson mentioned that this increase has been postponed. The company decided to wait until the winter months are over, as that’s when customers often have higher bills due to using more energy.
Kandi Young, who represents the utility commission, mentioned they are still looking into PGE’s suggested rate changes for handling costs of preventing wildfires. If these changes get the green light, customers would see the rates go up starting April 1, 2024.
Pacific Power, which is part of the Portland-based company PacifiCorp, also wants to increase its electricity prices in Oregon by 11% in 2024. This is to deal with rising power costs, as stated in their recent filing with the utility commission.
Young said that the commission plans to decide on Pacific Power’s request on December 28. If it’s approved, people using Pacific Power will start paying higher rates from January 1, 2024.
Pacific Power is also asking for a 2.1% rate hike to pay for efforts to lower the risk of wildfires in the future. In the event that this is accepted by the commission on January 9, 2024, the new rates will begin to be used the following day.