PORTLAND, Ore.— Pacific Power has filed its annual Power Cost Adjustment Mechanism (PCAM) with the Washington Utilities and Transportation Commission. The PCAM trues-up the actual costs of power from 2021 to the estimated costs that were put into rates at the beginning of 2021. The request varies by customer type, but in total averages to a 4.0 percent, or $15.9 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 natural gas, which is used in some of our generating plants, still exceeded projections.”
Pacific Power was able to offset some of 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, Pacific Power provided its Washington customers with $9.3 million in savings through its participation in the EIM. Those incremental savings are passed through to customers in the PCAM, but even these impressive savings were insufficient to completely offset the increases caused by market prices.
To lessen the impact of this cost increase on customers, Pacific Power is seeking to spread the impact of the 2021 energy price increases over the next two years. The PCAM rate request will be reviewed by the Commission. As part of this request, Pacific Power is proposing that the PCAM rate adjustments take effect on Jan. 1, 2023.
If you need assistance managing your energy costs, contact us toll free at 888-221-7070 and we can set up an equal pay plan or put you in touch with local resources to help you: