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Upcoming Changes: Portland General Electric's Proposed 17% Rate Increase for 2024

UPDATED November 2023 - Changes: The original article states a 14% rate increase. The actual approved amount for residential customers came back at 17%.

Ever heard the phrase: "keep your ear to the ground"?

The metaphorical idea is that if you put your ear on the ground, you can hear the vibrations of people or events moving before they become visible, hence by keeping your ear to the ground, you can anticipate changes or important news that may affect your business or personal life.

Well, that's what we do here: We try to "keep our ear to the ground" for current news and, when necessary, bring it up here.

Well folks - this is news-worthy:

Below you'll find an excerpt from PGE's website, discussing their proposed rate increase for calendar year 2024 - and it's MASSIVE. Here's the link to their website: Below you'll see what they wrote:

On Feb. 15, PGE filed a General Rate Case with the Oregon Public Utility Commission for prices expected to be effective in 2024. This filing is the first step in a transparent public process allowing the OPUC to work with PGE in determining new customer prices. Customer prices are approved by the OPUC after an extensive evaluation, including a public hearing, which considers a range of factors including current prices, inflation and other cost increases, and the necessary investments needed to provide reliable and resilient power to customers in the region. PGE is proposing an average price increase of 14%, this includes an average 4.5% increase for fuel and power costs and a 9.5% increase covering capital investments and operations and maintenance such as updating aging infrastructure, more resilient transmission lines and ongoing safety management by our crews. This process to determine a final price with the OPUC can take up to a year; additional information on what to expect over the coming months can be found on the OPUC website .

What’s driving this increase:

  • Power costs: Power costs have exponentially risen driven by high fuel costs, inflation, extreme weather events and market volatility.

  • Capital investments around upgrading the electric grid: We are investing in infrastructure and technology upgrades and replacing aging assets to create a grid that is more resilient in the face of extreme weather.

  • Investments focused on grid security and reliability. The investments we make result in better service for our customers, including fewer power interruptions and increased reliability for non-emitting resources.

What's this mean for ratepayers like us? We get to bear the brunt of these costs (on top of everything else) and it just keeps chipping away at our household incomes, commercial revenues, or non-profit operating costs. This is nothing short of historic - and this ISN'T the kind of history any of us want to see. PGE raised their rates roughly 8% for calendar year 2022. They then "upped the ante" in 2023 by stacking a 12% rate increase on top of the previous year. And now we're staring down the barrel of another locked-and-loaded gun: another 17% rate increase for next year. And you thought I was teasing you when we ask you to "lock in your utility rates by owning the power plant" or "use your current monthly electric bill budget to pay for a solar array instead". Guys (and gals): I'm not teasing, nor am I writing this for some self-serving aspect (ok - maybe a little, but c'mon - I own a solar installation company for crying out loud!). But deeply, I feel (said Yoda). I do feel strongly and deeply that any of us can stop the rate increases by owning the power plant (instead of buying from the middle-man (aka: the electric company). Any of my customers who currently own and operate their own solar panels can attest: they don't care how much PGE is charging for power - because they no longer buy it from PGE. Still think it's time to wait and see? Let me share a story: In roughly 2011 I was introduced to two young men who wanted me to invest in a virtual currency business. They had seen the future and it was digital currency. Think I'm wrong? Just look at that little magic piece of plastic you wave around at the grocery store when you're paying. That's right - it's not real cash - but it represents what the bank says you have. You're already using virtual currency - whether you believe it or not. I digress... So, I took a meeting with these two young fellas and we chatted about what they were doing.

I truly grasped what they were saying. I emphatically agreed that they were right - the world is moving towards a cashless society. All these guys wanted was for me to invest into two "mining" computers that would resolve the blockchain and mine this mysterious "coin". They were averaging about 10 per day, but my investment would yield an additional 10 per day, making me a doubler of their operation. I would receive 1/2 of the "coins" they mined. I just needed to fork over $10k. My response: "I totally agree with you and I do see this future, but how do you know that THIS particular "coin" is THE ONE? The "coin"? You guessed it - BitCoin. Did I miss out? Yup - but no regrets here - I can't mourn chances I didn't take. But... I can learn from them. So - what's the parallel? It's this: we sometimes regret waiting for the "right time", not realizing that it actually IS the right time. Can you afford a solar installation? YES - you're already buying power every month from someone else.

Every month - you get a bill. And unless you didn't pay that bill, your lights are still on. We believe it just makes sense for our customers to use that same money towards a loan that will help you afford your solar panels for your home. Once you buy them, they're YOURS - as is the energy they produce. So instead of sending money out to a middle man who resells you power that they purchased from Bonneville dam, why not spend that money on your own power plant (that also adds value to your home). That way, when these huge rate increases start hammering your neighbors, you can let them know that you didn't wait for "the right time" because you realized that any time is the right time to start saving money, stop the rate increases, and add value to your home. Call us - we're ready to help you with Upcoming Changes: Portland General Electric's Proposed 17% Rate Increase for 2024!

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