Pacific Power files for power cost true-up tied to volatile 2021 energy prices

PORTLAND, Ore. — Pacific Power has filed with the Oregon Public Utility Commission its annual Power Cost Adjustment Mechanism (PCAM), which trues-up the actual costs of power from 2021 to the estimated costs that were put into rates during 2021. The request varies between customers classifications, but in total averages 4 percent, or a $50.5 million increase in costs to customers.

“We know that 2021 was a difficult, volatile year for energy prices in the West,” said Matthew McVee, vice president of regulatory policy and operations. “The past year saw a record heat dome in the Northwest and unseasonable cold snaps. Our 10-state footprint and diverse sources of power generation allowed us to weather these extremes. However, the spike in the cost of electricity we needed to buy on the market to serve customer needs, the drop in hydropower generation caused by the long-term drought, and prices for the natural gas, which is used in some of our generating plants, still exceeded projections.”

Additionally, PacifiCorp was able to reduce these costs and impacts to customers due to its participation in the Western Energy Imbalance Market (EIM). The EIM enables access to even more low-cost, zero-carbon energy across the entire Western U.S. market while reducing emissions and increasing reliability. 

In 2021, PacifiCorp provided its Oregon customers with $30 million in savings through its participation in the EIM. Those incremental savings are passed through to customers in the PCAM, but in 2021 even these impressive savings were insufficient to completely offset the increases caused by market prices.

The PCAM rate request will be reviewed by the Commission.  As part of this request, Pacific Power is proposing that the PCAM rate adjustment take effect on Jan. 1, 2023. 

Pacific Power Plans New Rate Discount for Low Income Customers

In June, Pacific Power plans to introduce an on-bill rate discount to support customers who are experiencing income restraints. The proposed discount would be 25 percent for households with qualified income under 60 percent of the state’s median income. If approved, this discount would take effect Aug. 1.