The city of Klamath Falls is taking a close look at getting into the electric utility business...but Pacific Power is strongly opposed to the idea.
Klamath Falls Mayor Todd Kellstrom thinks that forming a municipal utility district could be a 'twin win' situation for the city...
"I wanted to look at possible revenue enhancement for our budget, as well as providing for the citizens of Klamath Falls, cheaper power rates."
But Pacific Power says they're ready for a long legal battle to prevent the city from getting into the electrical utility business.
"They're understandably upset with us." Notes Mayor Kellstrom. "We represent a trend, perhaps, that they don't want to see."
The Klamath Falls city council voted Monday night to spend 40 thousand dollars on a study to determine if forming a utility district is feasible.
Kellstrom explains: "What that will be is to value the infrastructure, put a cost on that, and then tell us what it will take to buy power, to distribute that power."
Pacific Power claims the city can't legally operate a utility district...a claim that Mayor Kellstrom denies...
"The city has a right to own and operate a utility. We operate water, wastewater, and geothermal right now."
Kellstrom says the feasibility study should be completed sometime in August.
"People are saying, 'go for it - if you can save us money, let's see if we can do it."
The city has posted a website on the issue: www.kfallselectric.com
Klamath Falls interest was also sparked by formation of an electrical utility district in Hermiston. That city acquired Pacific Power distribution lines, and now provides power at a 25% savings.