OPUC approves PGE price changes for 2015
Dec. 5, 2014
Portland, Ore. — The Oregon Public Utility Commission today announced approval of overall price changes for Portland General Electric of about 1 percent beginning in January 2015. A typical residential customer, who uses an average of 840 kilowatt hours per month, will see an average monthly bill increase of about 78 cents, from $98.71 to $99.49.
The commission’s action is the culmination of a 10-month public review process with active participation by customer advocates and other stakeholders, as well as representatives from PGE, called a general rate case. PGE filed the rate case in February 2014 primarily to reflect the anticipated completion of two new power plants. OPUC staff and stakeholders were able to reach agreement with PGE on all major issues in the rate case and filed a settlement in September that the three-member, governor-appointed commission ratified today.
Together with projected changes to PGE’s base business costs for 2015, the two new plants would result in an overall 2.6 percent price increase to customers; however, when offset with other OPUC-authorized adjustments, the net impact will be about 1 percent. If both new plants are online by Jan. 1, the total price adjustment will be effective that day. If either or both of the two plants are not yet in service, a price decrease for base business costs will occur Jan. 1 with specific adjustments relating to the plants taking effect as they begin commercial operation.
“We’re very pleased to be on track to bring two major power plants online while minimizing the impact on customer prices,” said Jim Piro, PGE president and CEO. “We also appreciate the constructive dialogue with customers and regulators that enabled us to reach a satisfactory settlement for all concerned.”
The 267-megawatt Tucannon River Wind Farm, near Dayton, Wash., is currently expected to be online and serving customers before the end of this month. Tucannon River will help PGE fulfill an Oregon mandate to serve at least 15 percent of its customers’ demand for power with qualifying renewable generating resources by 2015.
The 220-megawatt Port Westward Unit 2 facility, near Clatskanie is also currently expected to be online and serving customers before the end of this month. Port Westward Unit 2 is a flexible capacity generating plant with 12 natural gas-fueled reciprocating engines that can be operated as needed, individually or in combination, and will help PGE balance the variable output from wind and solar facilities while also meeting customer needs during peak demand periods.
PGE prices can vary from year to year, with OPUC approval, based on wholesale energy prices, capital investments in plants and equipment, and maintenance, labor and other operations costs.
The actual price impact varies among customer categories, and the proportion of costs attributed to different categories of customers can shift depending on the expenses reflected in any given rate case. Distribution and customer service costs, for instance, tend to flow to smaller business and residential customers who use those functions more intensively than large commercial and industrial operations; those larger customers, however, may pay a higher proportion of the cost when wholesale power and fuel costs increase. For 2015, the distribution of costs and credits is relatively even across the major customer categories. The average price increases are:
- Residential (schedule 7): 0.9 percent
- Small business (schedule 32): 0.8 percent
- Commercial (schedule 83): 1.1 percent
- Large commercial (schedule 85): 1.0 percent
- Industrial (schedules 89 and 90): 0.9 percent
The impact of the rate case and adjustments on individual customer’s bills will vary within each customer category, depending on the amount of power used each month. The OPUC order can be viewed at www.oregon.gov/puc.
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About Portland General Electric Company
Portland General Electric, headquartered in Portland, Ore., is a fully integrated electric utility that serves approximately 863,000 residential, commercial and industrial customers in Oregon. Visit our website at PortlandGeneral.com.
For more information contact Steve Corson, PGE, 503-464-8444