Pacific Power & Light, a division of PacifiCorp, filed with the Washington State Utilities and Transportation Commission (UTC) on November 25, seeking a 2.99 percent rate increase (Docket No. UE-152253) to help the utility pay off investments in its legacy coal-burning power plants and set the stage for a conversion to cleaner energy sources.
The filing reflects an overall revenue requirement increase of $10 million – which, for the residential customer, will mean an extra $3.25 on the average monthly bill of $115 starting in May 2016 for the following 12 months. The utility currently serves 133,000 customers in the Evergreen State.
After that, Pacific Power is asking for a second-step rate increase, with a requested effective date of May 1, 2017. Pacific Power will file new tariffs to implement the second-step rate change, as directed by the commission in compliance with the final order on the petition.
The request will help Pacific Power pay off its investment in two coal-fired power plants more quickly so that it is better prepared to pay for new environmental regulations or to invest in renewable resources, Bryce Dalley, vice president of regulation for the Portland-based utility told the McClatchy-Tribune Content Agency.
“The industry is definitely transitioning from coal over time. From a rate perspective and a customer perspective, we want to do it in a way that makes sense,” Dalley said. “If we have the cost of new requirements and we are paying off old infrastructure, that’s a double whammy on our customers.”
The UTC most recently approved general rate increases for Pacific Power of 3 percent last spring and 5.5 percent in 2013. Pacific Power has requested that the commission ”expeditiously adjudicate the petition, so that new rates will become effective on May 1, 2016.”