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PUC holds public forum on possible rate hike

Southern Oregon residents will get a chance to voice their thoughts and ask questions about PacifiCorp's desire to boost overall rates by 9.1 percent.

The Oregon Public Utility Commission will host an open house from 5 to 7 p.m. today in the Adams Room of the Medford Branch Library, 205 S. Central Ave., Medford.

The proposed increase, primarily a result of PacificCorp's investment in wind-generating facilities, will generate $92 million annually.

If approved as filed, residential customers would see an increase of 6.3 percent, or $5.12 per month on average, while industrial customers would see a 13.7 percent increase.

The Medford gathering follows similar meetings in Bend and Portland.

PacifiCorp entered its request April 3 and the PUC will act on the proposal late this year or in early 2010 with the rates going into place in early February if approved.

"Adjustment requests are at the discretion of the utility," said PUC spokesman Bob Valdez. "In the past five or six years, though, they've been becoming more frequent."

Valdez said rate change requests typically take nine months. "We want to take the proposals apart and answer all the questions adequately before a decision is made," he said.

People unable to attend the open house have three methods to respond:

  • On the Internet: www.puc.state.or.us and look for the PacificCorp rate increase link.
  • Phone: 1-800-522-2404.
  • By letter: UE 210 Administrative Hearings Division, Public Utility Commission of Oregon, P.O. Box 2148, Salem, OR 97308-2148.