Ashley Perry Oct. 15, 2014, 12:43pm

OLYMPIA, Wash. (Legal Newsline) - Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson is recommending a significant decrease in the 9.5 percent residential rate hike proposed by PacifiCorp, which operates as Pacific Power and Light Company in Washington.

The utility company provides service to approximately 132,000 customers in Yakima, Walla Walla, Garfield and Columbia Counties. It has asked the Washington Utilities and Transportation Commission (UTC) for a residential rate increase that would total $32 million.

“This would be their fifth rate increase in the last five years, and it is not justified based on our accounting analysis,” Ferguson said. “In addition, seeking to nearly double the basic monthly charge hurts customers who use less electricity and is a deterrent to conservation.”

Ferguson also decried an increase in customer reconnection fee, which is charged if the utilities have been turned off due to nonpayment. He said the fees would unnecessarily burden customers who are already in financial distress.

If the UTC accepts Ferguson's recommendations, PacifiCorp's rates would be limited to a $12.6 million increase. 

PacifiCorp will have the chance to submit rebuttal testimony and the UTC will hold hearings on the matter in December.  The UTC's final decision is expected by March.

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