Clark Public Utilities doesnt foresee rate increase

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first_imgNumerous utilities around the Pacific Northwest have said they will likely have to charge ratepayers more for electricity due to court-ordered additional spills at federal hydroelectric dams throughout the Columbia River Basin, but Clark Public Utilities said they’re not one of them.“If and when (a rate increase) comes is to be determined,” said the utility’s spokeswoman, Erica Erland.The spills came after the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit upheld a decision by U.S. District Court Judge for the District of Oregon Michael Simon. In March 2017, Simon ordered more dam spills in the lower Snake and lower Columbia rivers in an effort to improve salmon and steelhead survival as they migrate to the Pacific Ocean.For utilities completely dependent on hydroelectric facilities, the spills at the Lower Snake River and Columbia River dams, which occurred on April 3 and 10, respectively, could mean higher costs; but by exactly how much is still yet to be known.While some utilities say increased spills will force them to pass increased energy costs onto their customers, if and when Clark Public Utilities raises rates it won’t necessarily be due to the spills specifically.“A critical piece in understanding Clark is we truly are unique in utilities, in general, and in public utility districts because we have the River Road Generating Plant,” Erland said. “A lot of smaller PUDs are 100 percent (Bonneville Power Administration)-dependent so they’re much more susceptible to the changes in the system.”last_img

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