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Bill Revives Idea Of Shifting PGE To Public Ownership

State Representative Vickie Berger has introduced a bill in Salem that revives the idea of a state-owned public utility. April Baer reports.

Berger was one of several legislators who spearheaded a drive to buy Portland General Electric in 2005.  They wanted to set up a ratepayer-owned utility. And Berger says she still thinks it's a good idea.

Vickie Berger: "Cheaper power. That is the fact of it."

She's filed House Bill 3467, in hopes of prodding the conversation about whether customers of Oregon's biggest utility are well-served by its current form. She'd like to see a shift to public ownership.

Vickie Berger: "It's a complicated business, there are obvious models, the closest  of course is Seattle Power and Light."

Berger says she was unhappy to see PGE offer its outgoing executive Peggy Fowler a four-point five million dollar compensation package.
The bill's chances are iffy right now. Governor Kulongoski vetoed its last incarnation, saying the plan put too much risk on ratepayers. A spokeswoman for the Governor says he has not changed his mind.