The Oregon Public Utility Commission has decided not to dismiss Portland General Electric’s (PGE) latest rate increase proposal, rejecting a motion from a state nonprofit group that advocates for utility customers. This decision, made on Thursday, means that PGE’s proposed 7.5% rate increase will undergo the usual lengthy rate-setting process. If approved, the increase would likely take effect next January, though PGE may seek additional increases later this year.

The Oregon Citizens’ Utility Board had requested that the commission throw out PGE’s rate request, arguing that people are struggling with record-high bills. This is the first time the board has made such a request. PGE previously raised its electricity rates by 18% on January 1 and by 12% in January 2023, amounting to a 37.5% increase since the start of 2023.

A significant challenge for PGE is its strategy to invest in a variety of technologies, from wind farms to battery storage, to decarbonize its system and meet ambitious state mandates. Oregon requires PGE to reduce its carbon emissions by 80% by 2030 and by 100% by 2040. Replacing fossil fuels will be an expensive task, and it seems the Oregon Department of Energy did not fully consider the cost impact on the average Oregonian.

We have completed our winter heating season, so unless you have a water heater on propane, we won’t be back to fill your tank until October. If you have a pool and plan to use the boiler, please call the office to let us know. Thanks again for your business this winter, and have an enjoyable spring and summer.

Ryan Buller