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Pacific Power files for rate increase

Pacific Power last week filed a general rate request with the Washington Utilities and Transportation Commission to recover the rising costs of serving customers, including increased power costs and costs associated with investing in new resources.

Pacific Power requests an overall increase of $34.9 million, or 14.6 percent. If approved by the commission, the price changes would take effect in early January 2009.

"We're committed to making the renewable resource investments that are now required under state law and to ongoing improvements to our system in order to ensure our customers continue to have the level of service reliability they expect and deserve," said Pat Reiten, Pacific Power president.

"The proposed increase reflects the significant investments we are making on behalf of our customers," Reiten said.

To minimize the size of future increases, Pacific Power also filed for a new generation cost-tracking mechanism. This would allow the company to adjust prices more regularly and moderately as needed in the future to respond to changing power costs and to recognize increases and decreases in the costs associated with generation resources, including renewable resources.

If this rate request is approved as filed, a residential customer using 1,300 kilowatt-hours of electricity per month will see a monthly bill increase of approximately $13. A residential customer using 500 kilowatt-hours per month will see a total monthly bill increase of about $5. The average Pacific Power residential customer in Washington uses approximately 1,300 kilowatt-hours each month.

With this filing, Pacific Power also is asking to begin recovery of costs related to low hydro conditions in 2005. This amount totals $12.5 million, but the company proposes minimizing the impact to an increase of about 1 percent by collecting it over five years, beginning next January.

Recognizing the impact price increases can have on customers, Pacific Power also is proposing increased benefits for the low-income customer bill assistance program. These changes, if approved, would increase the amount currently available to help these customers and raise the cap to increase the number of customers qualified to participate in the program.

Pacific Power serves approximately 125,000 customers in Washington state. As part of PacifiCorp, Pacific Power and sister company Rocky Mountain Power provide electricity and related services to 1.7 million customers in six Western states.

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