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Renewable Rates

Pete Springer/OPB

Oregon’s biggest electric companies are seeking to increase their rates, a step they say is necessary to offset the costs of renewable energy sources like wind turbines. Both Portland General Electric (PGE) and PacifiCorp filed requests last week with the Oregon Public Utility Commission to raise rates for their customers starting in early 2010. Consumer advocates say they will fight the proposed increases, arguing that customers shouldn’t be taking on additional charges when they’re already feeling the effects of a down economy.

PacifiCorp, which roughly half a million customers (pdf) in Oregon might recognize as Pacific Power, has requested a 9.1 percent increase in rates. The last time the company raised rates was in 2007, when monthly charges went up five percent. PGE’s 810,000 Oregon customers (pdf) will see a 2.3 percent increase in rates if the company’s request is granted. The increase will be offset by lower power costs, however, and may be negligible according to company spokesman Steve Corson.

If PacifiCorp or PGE supply power to your home or business, what would a rate increase mean for you? Do you work in the electricity industry? What will happen if the Public Utility Commission doesn’t approve raised rates? What is the price of renewable energy and who should be responsible for taking on those costs?


NOTE: In the interest of full disclosure, PacifiCorp is an underwriter of OPB.

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