The Oregon Public Utility Commission (PUC) approved a modest increase in rates for residential and some commercial customers of Portland General Electric (PGE) – the rates will go into effect January 1, 2019. Some larger customers will see a decrease in rates.
A typical household using about 800 kWh per month will see a bill increase of $1.68, or 1.6%. Commercial customers’ rates will go up 2.5%, while larger industrial customers’ rates will decrease 2.1%.
PGE originally proposed an increase of $85.9 million or 4.78% in revenues. The PUC’s decision reduced PGE’s request by over $53 million, approving a rate increase of $32.67 million, or 1.79%. The actual rate impact to customers will be much lower, however. An updated forecast of overall power use means PGE’s effective change in rates will total $8.96 million, a 0.47% increase in revenues.
PGE’s increase in costs is largely driven by replacing old equipment used for the transmission and distribution of power, and to accommodate customer growth. Additionally, PGE is investing in new technology to improve customer services and to protect customers and the grid.
“PGE’s modest rate increase is helping to fund important investments for the old and the new,” said Megan Decker, PUC Chair. “With this revenue PGE will keep its traditional service infrastructure up-to-date, and will make the system more secure against growing cybersecurity threats. Both investments are essential to a modern system that serves the needs of customers.”
“We scrutinize utility costs closely to protect consumers,” stated Chair Decker. “In this case, the improvements PGE is making to the electricity system are focused on smaller customers; as a result, smaller customers will see slight increases in rates, while larger customers will see lower rates.”
Customers that may need help with winter heating bills may dial “211” to inquire about energy assistance programs in their area.
PGE serves over 870,000 customers in Oregon.