Portland General Electric hikes residential rates by record 18%

By Monica Samayoa (OPB)
Dec. 29, 2023 12:37 a.m.

It’s the highest increase in 20 years. Household customers will pay $24 more a month for electricity. Businesses could see increases around 14%.

FILE - The sub station at Wheatridge Renewable Energy Facility, May 24, 2022.

FILE - The sub station at Wheatridge Renewable Energy Facility, May 24, 2022.

Kristyna Wentz-Graff / OPB

Portland General Electric customers are set to see an 18% increase on their bills starting Monday.


This comes as the Oregon Public Utility Commission approved pending adjustments and rate decisions Thursday that locked in PGE’s rates for the start of the year. Residential customers will see the biggest increase of an average of 18% on their bills, or about $24 more a month.

Commercial customers will see a 14.4% increase and industrial customers will see an 12.5% increase.

“The rate increase reflects the need to invest in the reliability and resiliency of PGE’s system, advance policy objectives like equity and clean energy, and the reality that PGE faces inflationary pressures and high market power prices,” Megan Decker, the Public Utility Commission chairperson, said in a press release Thursday. “We recognize how significant this rate increase will be for families and businesses.”

The increases are due to upgrades to the power grid and transmission lines, tree and vegetation maintenance, and an increase to power costs. It’s the company’s largest rate increase in more than 20 years. PGE said the price hike is also due to the company’s investment in renewable energy to phase out fossil fuel use.

In October, the Public Utility Commission approved most of PGE’s rate increases. At the time, residential rates were estimated to increase about 17%.


Related: Portland General Electric customers’ bills will go up starting in January

Customer advocacy group urges postponement of rate increase

Oregon Citizens’ Utility Board, a group that advocates for customers, said the increase may make it difficult for some households to pay their bills as the month of January is typically the highest bill people receive in the year. Executive Director Bob Jenks said despite how hot it gets during summer months, heating costs in the winter tend to be much higher.

“In the middle of winter, on the worst bills possible, raising them 18% is going to create problems for people,” he said. “If the month of January is cold, it’s going to be really problematic for folks, people are going to get bills they are not expecting.”

PGE rates are expected to rise again by 2% in April to address wildfire mitigation costs.

Jenks said the Citizens’ Utility Board asked the Public Utility Commission to delay these costs to avoid even higher bills during the winter months.

Related: Extreme heat stresses Oregon utilities trying to keep people cool and prevent fires

Customers should do what they can to prepare for the rate hike next month to avoid being surprised when they open their bills, Jenks said.

PGE, which serves about 900,000 customers statewide, offers discounts for low- to moderate-income households as well as energy efficient incentive programs through partnerships with Energy Trust of Oregon.

Oregon Public Utility Commissioners are also expected to approve rate increases for Pacific Power on Jan. 9. That company’s customers could see an increase of about 13% to their bills.