On Feb. 12, 2015, Portland General Electric asked the Oregon Public Utility
Commission to approve price changes in 2016 to pay for a new power plant when it
goes into service next year. This request for a potential overall price increase of 3.7
percent is the first step in a 10-month review process with several opportunities for
Investing in new plants to help meet customer needs
PGE brought two new power plants online to serve our customers in late 2014 – the
267-megawatt Tucannon River Wind Farm near Dayton, Washington and the 220-
megawatt natural gas-fired Port Westward Unit 2 facility near Clatskanie, Oregon.
These two new generating plants are now helping PGE meet state renewable energy
standards while maintaining a reliable supply of affordable power for customers.
They were brought into PGE’s prices in January 2015 with an overall, OPUCapproved
increase in customer prices of about one percent.
Baseload plant will come online in 2016
Now, PGE is in the process of constructing a third new plant near Boardman,
Oregon. The 440-megawatt Carty Generating Station will fulfill a different role,
providing reliable, efficiently generated baseload power PGE can call on to serve
customers under any conditions.
All three new plants were identified as the least cost, least risk alternatives to meet
growing customer needs as part of PGE’s integrated resource planning process.
The Carty plant is expected to come online in the second quarter of 2016, so PGE is
requesting price adjustments to include an overall price reduction of about one
percent for base business costs on January 1, 2016 followed by an increase when
Carty goes into service later in the year. If approved by the OPUC as requested, the
net overall impact to customers would be a price increase of about 3.7 percent.
Different resources, different needs
The Tucannon River Wind Farm generates 100 percent renewable energy; Port
Westward Unit 2 will back up the output of our renewable generation when the
wind isn’t blowing or the sun isn’t shining. Carty will be a workhorse, day and
night, year-round. The three together allow us to bring more renewable energy into
our system while still maintaining a steady, reliable supply of power at all times.
Planning for the future
Careful planning is crucial in any industry and especially in the energy world where
our customers depend on us to keep the lights on today and continuously meet the
energy demands of a growing region over time. That’s why it’s so important for
PGE to establish and execute a vision to power Oregon for years to come.
PGE conducts long-term planning to ensure we can continue to meet our
customers’ needs in the most reliable, sustainable and cost-effective way possible.
In our current resource plans, acknowledged by the OPUC, careful analysis showed
that to provide our customers with the best long-term balance of cost and risk, PGE
needed to acquire additional generating resources to help supply the power our
What impact will this have on prices?
If approved as requested, the overall increase of about
3.7 percent would take effect in two phases during 2016.
The typical residential customer using an average of
840 kilowatt-hours of electricity per month would see
an average monthly bill increase of about $2.84.
Impacts will vary depending on the OPUC’s final
price-setting decisions, the type of customer and the
amount of electricity used.
Each PGE customer falls into a billing category, called
a “schedule.” Here is the approximate impact of
proposed price changes on each of the major
schedules, subject the OPUC’s decision and possible
power cost updates during the year.
Sch. 7 (Residential): 3.1 percent
Sch. 32 (Small business): 6.0 percent
Sch. 83 (Commercial): 5.3 percent
Sch. 85 (Large commercial): 3.9 percent
Sch. 89 (Large industrial): 4.0 percent
State commission will make the final decision
PGE’s prices are set by the OPUC, an independent commission appointed by the
governor. PGE’s request sets off a 10-month public review involving customer
groups, local governments and others. The OPUC will only allow PGE to charge its
customers for costs it determines are necessary and prudent – and that provide our
customers with the best long-term balance of cost and risk.
Providing resources for customers
We do not take any request for a price increase lightly and PGE has programs in
place to help. PGE offers free advice and in-depth information on saving energy.
We can connect you with Energy Trust of Oregon incentives, and have billing and
payment options to make budgeting easier and free online tools such as
EnergyTracker℠ to help you understand and manage energy use. We can also
connect customers with assistance programs – such as HEAT Oregon – that help in
times of need. Visit PortlandGeneral.com/Save to learn about these resources.