Portland General Electric’s approximately 900,000 Oregon customers will see another increase in their electric bills starting next week, of about 3.6%. For the average customer it’ll be an extra couple dollars a month.

That’s on top of the annual increase that began Jan. 1, which was also about 4%. Both adjustments help PGE cover fuel and operating costs.

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But the new rate increase is a relatively rare case, following a yearlong review by the Oregon Public Utility Commission. The money will help cover wildfire mitigation and vegetation management following major wildfires in recent years.

Related: Electric utilities in Northwest spending millions on upgrades to reduce risk of wildfire ignitions

Bob Jenks, with the Oregon Citizen’s Utility Board, said there was another aspect of the review that will protect consumers amid the major housing crisis in the state: PGE will stop asking its new customers to pay security deposits, starting next year.

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“Really it’s just sort of a tax on poor folks and credit-challenged folks that there’s no real basis, in our mind, for doing,” Jenks said.

PGE spokesperson Mike Houlihan said this was the first rate case the company had filed in three years. The company had requested an overall annual rate increase of about $59 million. Just over a sixth of that was approved.

Jenks said a big chunk of that money was tied to the upgrade of the Faraday Dam on the Clackamas River, which is months behind schedule. “And the commission just said, ‘No, when it’s done, come back to us and ask for cost recovery. We’re not going to pre-approve something months and months and months in advance.’”

He said there’s still a chance the project could be completed in 2022, but it’s unlikely another rate increase to cover its costs would happen by January 2023.

Houlihan said PGE was satisfied with the commission’s decision, despite the dramatic difference between the request and the approval.

“We believe the outcomes of this rate case are generally positive,” Houlihan said, “reflecting our shared interest with the OPUC in keeping customer prices low while also supporting our long-term strategy to deliver clean, safe, reliable power for customers.”

Related: Portland General Electric moves to condemn property at Willamette Falls, intensifying tribal dispute

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