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corporate dominance | energy & nuclear

Two Big Rate Cases Underway

We've talked to you lately in CUB Online about global warming and the need to purchase renewables, preserving equal access to the internet, and successful reform of utility tax rules. But this week we're back to the basics, the bread and butter of why CUB exists: the utilities want to raise your rates and we're gonna try and stop them.
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.

Thanks for reading CUB Online.

Please visit our website: www.oregoncub.org .
CUB works for YOU! 25.Jul.2006 18:10

Brian the Green

CUB represents ratepayers and citizens when regulated monopolies seek rate increases or changes in regulations from state regulators. Without CUB, we'd be at a total loss. CUB takes small donations from many ratepayers, then highers lawyers, accountants and economists to testify at public hearings. Annual membership to CUB is just $15/year. That's barely over $1/month and probably one of the best deals going.

Just the two cases noted above show that PGE and PacifiCorp seek $240 million from increased rates. If we have 2,000,000 customers in the metro region, that is $120 increase for each and every one of them. CUB says these companies should NOT get an increase. Their effort could save you $240 or more over the next year or two.

I don't work for the CUB but have been a long time member and appreciate their work. I wish every ratepayer was a member. Working together to stand up to corporate power makes us strong. CUB unites us behind fair energy regulation.

You can join CUB at their website:  http://www.oregoncub.org/membership.htm