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PacifiCorp power rates go up July 1

PUC approval means $93 million to company

Wire and staff reports

SALEM -- Oregon customers of PacifiCorp will see their power rates go up an average of 1.23 percent beginning July 1.

The rate hike, approved this week by the Oregon Public Utility Commission, means that residential customers using 1,000 kilowatts a month will see their bill rise 74 cents. Commercial users can expect to see increases of 0.5-.89 percent while large industrial users will see their rates climb 1.91 percent.

The increases will generate $9.3 million more in annual income for PacifiCorp. Most of the increase comes in the system benefit charge, a fee all customers pay through which the company recovers money it has invested in energy efficiency.

The hikes were approved under a plan adopted by the PUC last year that allows PacifiCorp to adjust prices annually based on changes in inflation and a productivity index offset.

Meanwhile, ScottishPower's bid to purchase PacifiCorp continues to move along.

Last week, the staff of Utah's utility commission recommended approving the merger with several conditions, including a three-year cap on rates. The deal needs regulatory approval in all six states PacifiCorp serves. Thus far, only Oregon's PUC staff has recommended rejecting the deal. State regulators don't expect to make a final decision on the merger until this fall.

Federal regulators also approved the deal last week -- a major boost to the effort because ScottishPower would be the first foreign company to own a U.S. utility. Shareholders for both companies also gave their blessing to the merger last week.