Many Oregonians can expect higher electricity bills starting on New Year’s Day.
Oregon’s utility regulator on Thursday announced approved rate increases for Portland General Electric and Pacific Power customers, citing increased costs to produce and purchase electricity.
“Unfortunately, fuel cost increases and supply chain delays caused by global events, combined with increasing volatility in regional electricity markets, drive the price for utilities to produce and purchase electricity,” Megan Decker, who chairs the Oregon Public Utility Commission, said in a press release.
Effective Jan. 1, PGE customers will see a 6% increase in their electrical bills. Typical PGE residential customers using 780 kilowatt hours per month can expect monthly bills to increase from $114.54 to $122.60.
Meanwhile, Pacific Power customers will see a 15% increase. In a press release, the company said a typical residential customer using 900 kilowatt hours per month can expect monthly bills to increase from $91.89 to $111.34.
Pacific Power said the significant increase is due to inflation and market volatility, as well as costs associated with mitigating wildfire risk. The company has faced multiple lawsuits tied to the 2020 Labor Day wildfires; one of those cases settled in November, and a class action suit awaits trial.
PacifiCorp, the utility’s parent company, services about 2 million customers in six states, including 630,000 customers in Oregon. PGE services about 900,000 customers in 51 cities in Oregon.
Both PGE and Pacific Power offer programs that provide discounts to customers facing income restraints. Customers can also access support through local community action agencies, including the Oregon Energy Fund, Oregon Energy Assistance Program, COVID Energy Assistance Program and Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program.