McKenna reaches deal with power company

Ashley Stinnett Aug. 26, 2009, 4:35pm

SEATTLE (Legal Newsline) - Washington Attorney General Rob McKenna on Wednesday announced his office has reached a settlement with Portland-based Pacific Power which will reduce the proposed size of electric rates.

The agreement comes after the state challenged a filing by Pacific that would have raised the company's revenue by $38.5 million by charging more for rates, according to McKenna.

Under the terms of the agreement, residential and small-business customers will receive a 5.3 percent increase instead of the original proposed 15.1 percent increase.

A residential customer using 1,300 kilowatt hours per month will see an increase of $4.79 to their bill under the new agreement instead of the originally sought $13.76 rate increase, according to McKenna.

The agreement was reached by the state's Utilities and Transportation Commission (UTC), Industrial Customers of Northwest Utilities (ICNU) and the Energy Project.

The agreement will also scale back any requests by the company for future revenues, no increase to monthly consumer charges and no increases to shareholder rate of returns, according to McKenna.

"In this current economic climate we recognize that any rate increase is difficult for Washington families," said Sarah Shifley, Washington's assistant attorney general. "However, we believe that the settlement reached is a very positive resolution of this case, cutting $25 million from the original request."

Pacific Power serves nearly 130,000 customers in central and southeast Washington. If the UTC approves the final agreement, the new rates would take effect January 1, 2010.

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