PGE and PacifiCorp have both filed rate increase requests, both of them highly - shall we say? - optimistic. PacifiCorp wants a 13% increase in rates amounting to about $110 million additional dollars from ratepayers; PGE wants 8.6% or $130 million. Our analysis shows that little or no rate increase should be granted in either case.
Current status is that while we are well underway, we are also far from done in even presenting and hearing arguments in the two rate cases. We have gone through settlement discussions, filed testimony in the general rate case and power cost update rate case for PacifiCorp, and in the power cost update case for PGE. We are working through other intervenors' testimony (such as Industrial Customers of Northwest Utilities) and the testimony of PUC Staff.
One thing we have already deduced, is that if the Commission were to accept all of the proposed adjustments from CUB and from PUC Staff in the PacifiCorp case, the end result would be a rate decrease, rather than any increase at all. We have no reason to think this is going to be the final outcome, but we do think it goes to show how differently the data can be interpreted and how aggressively PacifiCorp uses the data to ask for significant increases.
In the PGE case, other parties have proposed big reductions on power costs, as have we. We proposed 4 adjustments with a minimum reduction of tens of millions of dollars, and we recommended that the PUC seriously consider other parties' adjustments as well. Next, the companies will have the chance to respond to the testimony filed so far.
While it's too early to say that rates won't go up, we do feel that the companies have a ways to go to make a convincing argument that they need higher rates to provide adequate service.
And with temperatures expected to hover around 100 through this weekend, electricity will be at peak demand. In fact, the highest usage of electricity all year could be happening in the next few days, just to keep inside temperatures bearable. All of which helps remind us of why the rates for our electricity need to be kept fair and reasonable.
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