The Oregon Public Utility Commission has approved a settlement agreement allowing Portland General Electric Co. to begin a pilot program to test direct access for customers, while requiring the company to trim rates by some $30 million (3 percent) on an equal-percentage basis for all customer classes.
The commission had stated in an earlier ruling that it would not permit the company to "indefinitely continue to receive a windfall from lower natural gas prices."
The settlement also calls for an end to the PUC's "decoupling experiment," which had been designed to remove impediments to conservation by making the company's revenue requirement less dependent upon sales volume. The pilot program would make decoupling difficult to administer, according the PUC staff. Re Portland Gen. Elec. Co., UE 100, Order No. 96-306, Nov. 26, 1996 (Ore.P.U.C.).
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