Double Digit Rate Hike Sought By Pacific Power

Pacific Power, one of Oregon’s largest electric companies, is seeking a significant rate hike that could impact residents across the state. The company has submitted a proposal to the Oregon Public Utility Commission requesting a 16.9% increase in residential rates, set to go into effect in 2025. If approved, this rate hike could result in an average monthly bill increase of around $30 for residential customers.

The primary aim of this rate hike, according to Pacific Power, is to secure funds amounting to $304 million. These funds would be allocated towards financing renewable power sources, enhancing grid infrastructure, and covering expenses related to wildfires. The company’s wildfire-related costs include vegetation management around power lines, higher wildfire insurance premiums, and the establishment of a “catastrophic fire fund.”

The proposed rate increase underscores the challenges faced by electric utilities in balancing the need for sustainable energy investments with the financial burdens associated with mitigating wildfire risks and ensuring grid reliability. As the Oregon Public Utility Commission deliberates on Pacific Power’s request, residents and stakeholders will closely monitor the proceedings to assess the potential impact on electricity costs and the broader energy landscape in the state.

Pacific Power aims to utilize the funds generated from the proposed rate hike to cover various expenses related to wildfires. Some of these expenses include:

1. Vegetation Management: The company plans to allocate funds towards managing vegetation around power lines to reduce the risk of wildfires caused by contact between vegetation and electrical infrastructure.

2. Wildfire Insurance Premiums: Pacific Power intends to use the funds to cover the increased costs associated with wildfire insurance premiums, which have likely escalated due to the heightened wildfire risks in the region.

3. Catastrophic Fire Fund: The establishment of a “catastrophic fire fund” is part of the company’s strategy to have resources readily available to respond to and recover from large-scale wildfires that could potentially impact their operations and customers.

By addressing these wildfire-related expenses, Pacific Power aims to enhance its resilience to wildfire risks, safeguard its infrastructure, and ensure the continuity of reliable electricity service to customers in Oregon.