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Electric bills to double for Klamath Project

Herald and News June 2, 2007, by Ty Beaver

   K la math R ecla mation Project irrigators will see their energ y costs doubled when they receive their power bills for June.
   A recent ruling from the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals determined that a credit provided to some energy customers in the Pacific Northwest by the Bonneville Power Administration was illegal and must be discontinued. That credit had reduced by half the power costs to Klamath Project irrigators.
   Off-project irrigators will also see a substantial increase.
   It was reported last week that residential customers’ electrical bills will increase by about 13 percent.
   Toby Freeman, Pacific Power regional community manager, said BPA is requesting a rehearing of the court’s decision. In the meantime, irrigators are being informed of the cost increase and other solutions are being sought.
   “ We’re hoping that everyone in the region will sit down and try to work this out,” he said.
   T h e c o u r t ’s d e c i - sion and resulting cost increase stem from litigation filed by regional public utilities.
   Officials with those utilities contended that the credit, which only applied to customers of investor-owned utilities, gave companies such as Pacific Power unfair benefits.
   Freeman said he wanted to clarify that energy rates aren’t increasing, but bottom line costs are. Project irrigators are currently charged a little more than a cent per kilowatt hour. The credit from BPA was more than half a cent per kilowatt hour, cutting irrigation power bills in half.
   Pacific Power and other utilities affected by the decision are asking the court of appeals to rehear the case. Lee Beyer, chairman of the Oregon Public Utility Commission, also criticized the decision, saying it would affect energy consumers with three of the state’s utilities.
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