OPUC Partially Acknowledges PacifiCorp IRP

On July 8, 2014, the Oregon Public Utility Commission (Oregon Commission) issued an order regarding PacifiCorp’s long-term plan for its generation and transmission resources. 

PacifiCorp is the second largest utility in Oregon and provides about 28% of the electric power for Oregon customers.  PacifiCorp serves customers in six states (Oregon, Washington, California, Idaho, Wyoming, and Utah), and its generation resource mix that includes about 63% coal, 14% natural gas, 8% wind, 6% hydro, with the remaining market purchases, biomass, solar, and geothermal.  PacifiCorp’s integrated resource plan (IRP) focused on meeting its near term resource needs with conservation, energy efficiency and market purchases, and did not propose to build or purchase any new thermal or wind resources for at least the next decade.  PacifiCorp is also planning on significant upgrades in its aging coal fleet that has plants in Arizona, Colorado, Montana, Utah, and Wyoming.  

Based on the information available at the time, the Oregon Commission acknowledged as reasonable most of PacifiCorp’s resource plan.  The Oregon Commission, however, did not find reasonable the utility’s plans for upgrading some of its coal plants, including units on its Hunter and Jim Bridger plants.  The Oregon Commission also did not address PacifiCorp’s other coal plant upgrades.  The partial acknowledgment follows a 2012 order in which the Oregon Commission disallowed $17 million in coal investment costs because PacifiCorp did not reasonably examine alternative courses of action and perform adequate analysis to support its investments. 

PacifiCorp can still make its planned coal plant upgrades.  The Oregon Commission will more carefully review the upgrades in a future case, if the Company moves forward with the significant investments.  The Commission’s order, however, may make it more difficult for the utility to recover and charge its customers the costs of any upgrades.


The Order can be found HERE



These materials are intended to as informational and are not to be considered legal advice or legal opinion, nor do they create a lawyer-client relationship. Information included about previous case results does not assure a similar future result.