Residents concerned over Pacific Power potential rate increase

SALEM, Ore. The Oregon Public Utility Commission (PUC) hosted a virtual event Tuesday to get public comment on Pacific Power’s proposal to increase rates.

Pacific Power which provides electric services to more than 600,000 Oregonians, filed a request to increase monthly bills by about 18% for all customers combined. If approved, residential single-family customers would see a monthly bill increase of $30.66.

The power company cites multiple reasons for the proposal to raise rates. Those include investments in transmission infrastructure, wind generation to serve customer load, upgrades to the customer service system, increased costs of capital to match updated market conditions and risks, as well as wildfire and vegetation management costs.

Pacific Power is also proposing an insurance cost adjustment and funding for a catastrophic fire fund. According to the PUC, Pacific Power’s general rate case filing 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, and others.

Those in attendance were overwhelmingly against the potential increase.

“I can afford it if I don’t go out to eat, don’t go to movies, maybe don’t buy new clothes, but I have many coworkers and friends with children who cannot afford it,” said Seaside resident, Carmen Dunnington.

“I just feel that there’s a lot of seniors who are homeless because they can’t pay their bills and there aren’t a lot of resources out there,” said another Oregon resident.

The investigation into Pacific Power’s request will be ongoing through December when the commissioners are set to make a decision. If approved, the new rates will go into effect on January 1, 2025.

Pacific Power is also proposing an update to its annual power costs, which is currently estimated at a 1% decrease in rates. That too would go into effect on January 1.

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Jenna King is the 6pm anchor and our Feature Reporter at 10pm and 11pm for NBC5 News. Jenna is a Burbank, CA native. She graduated from the University of Oregon with a degree in Broadcast Journalism and a minor in Sports Business. During her time at Oregon she was part of the student-run television station, Duck TV. She also grew her passion for sports through her internship with the PAC 12 Network. When Jenna is not in the newsroom you can find her rooting for her hometown Dodgers, exploring the outdoors or binging on the latest Netflix release.
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