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Oregon PUC seeks public comment on PacifiCorp’s proposed 14% rate hike; Citizens’ Utility Board opposes increase

Pacific Power

SALEM, Ore. (KTVZ) – The Oregon Public Utility Commission is hosting a virtual public comment hearing next Tuesday at 6 p.m., giving PacifiCorp customers an opportunity to speak directly to the commissioners about the utility’s proposed increase to electricity rates.

PacifiCorp is asking for an increase in its general rates of approximately $84.4 million, or 6.8 percent. This would impact customer rates differently, depending on usage and customer type -- residential, business, or industrial customers.  For a residential customer using an average of 900 kWh per month, the increase would be $13.01 or 14.16 percent for single family residential customers; and, $6.97 or 11.0 percent in a multi-family home using an average of 600 kWh a month.  

PacifiCorp identifies several factors driving the proposed rate increase, including its plan to close coal plants and transition to more renewable sources of energy and, in particular, the TB Flats Wind Project.  PacifiCorp also points to increased costs associated with its vegetation management programs and expansion of its wildfire mitigation programs. Additionally, PacifiCorp cites inflation and changes to its capital structures as drivers of the increase.  

PacifiCorp’s general rate change request is undergoing a nearly year-long review and will be fully investigated on behalf of electricity customers by the PUC, the Oregon Citizens’ Utility Board, the Alliance of Western Energy Consumers, and others. This public comment hearing is part of that investigation, which will conclude in December when the Commissioners rule on the request. New rates, if approved, are expected to go into effect January 1, 2023.  

Ways to Comment

Pacific Power customers and other interested persons may participate in the public comment hearing to provide verbal comments to the Commissioners and the Administrative Law Judge presiding over this rate case. 

Spanish translation services are available for community convenience at no cost. For those individuals needing translation services, log into the Zoom platform and select English or Spanish on the bottom of the page. Translation services are not available for the meeting phone-in option.

When: Tuesday, May 24, 2022 from 6 – 7 p.m. 

For those unable to participate during the virtual public comment hearing, comments may be submitted through June 22, 2022 in the following ways:

  • By email to  
  • By calling 503-378-6600 or 800-522-2404 (all relay calls accepted, Spanish translation services available) 
  • By mail to Oregon Public Utility Commission, Attn: AHD – UE 399, PO Box 1088, Salem, OR 97308-1088 

Stay Informed

To stay informed throughout this rate case process, individuals may request to be added to the distribution list to receive publicly available documents. Submit requests by email to or by calling 503-378-6678. Please specify docket UE 399 in the request.

The PUC’s mission is to ensure that customers of Oregon’s investor-owned utilities have access to safe, reliable, and high quality utility services at just and reasonable rates. 

News release:

Oregon CUB Opposes Pacific Power’s Huge Rate Increase, Urges Ratepayers to Attend Public Meeting

The Oregon Citizens’ Utility Board criticized Pacific Power for its proposal to raise rates by $106 million, a 14% rate hike, in 2023. If accepted, this would be the utility’s largest residential increase in 20 years. This proposed increase would be even worse on summer cooling bills, especially in Southern and Eastern Oregon. It will increase the profits going to Pacific Power’s parent company, Berkshire Hathaway, and it shifts a significant amount of risk onto customers which will likely lead to higher rates in the future.

“We are deeply concerned about how this rate hike will affect customers,” said Bob Jenks, CUB Executive Director. “Pacific Power serves many communities that are struggling. Every effort should be made to keep rates affordable for the many customers who struggle to pay their bills.”

Southern and Eastern Oregon shouldn’t pay higher rates for summer bills.To discourage air conditioning use, Pacific Power is proposing moving to seasonal rates. This would make rates cheaper in the winter and more expensive in the summer. But we know that cooling is increasingly essential in Oregon. For customers in warmer climates, like Southern and Eastern Oregon, this could have serious consequences. These areas have higher energy use during summer peaks. With seasonal rates, customers in areas like Umatilla and Jackson County would see much greater impacts on their bills.

Customers shouldn’t pay to increase profit margins for wealthy shareholders. Pacific Power is asking customers to pay an additional $8 million just to increase its profits. The utility’s parent company is run by Warren Buffett, one of the richest men in the world. His firm’s utility investments had record profits last year.

Customers shouldn’t take on more risks to protect profits. Pacific Power wants to change rules around how it handles forecasted power costs. These rule changes would shift financial risk to customers to protect the utility’s profits. This change could leave Oregon households on the hook for tens of millions of dollars per year. 

In a year with historic inflation rates, increasing bills at this level is cause for concern. Oregon households are already struggling to make ends meet. Higher bills could force many to choose between electricity and other necessary costs like food or healthcare.

CUB urges customers to show up at a Public Comment Hearing to voice objections to this increase.  On Tuesday, May 24 at 6:00pm, the Public Utility Commission is holding a public comment hearing to hear from customers about this increase.


About the Oregon Citizens’ Utility Board (Oregon CUB):

Oregon CUB is an independent 501(c)3 nonprofit established by initiative process to represent the interests of Oregon’s residential utility customers. CUB advocates for customers by working to develop energy systems that are affordable, accessible, reliable, and clean, and ensure telecommunications policies that support universal access to Broadband.

Article Topic Follows: Oregon-Northwest

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