Oregon Commission Denied Idaho Power Company’s Request to Waive the Competitive Bidding Rules

At the March 8, 2022 Public Meeting, the Oregon Public Utility Commission (the Oregon Commission) denied Idaho Power Company’s (Idaho Power) waiver request of Oregon’s competitive bidding rules. Oregon’s competitive bidding rules lay out the process for a Request for Proposals (RFP) when a utility will acquire resources of an aggregate of 80 megawatts for five years or more and require an Independent Evaluator to oversee the RFP process. 

In December 2021, Idaho Power sought a waiver from all the competitive bidding rules because it asserted it was in urgent need of near-term capacity that would take too long to acquire through the Oregon RFP process. Idaho Power wanted to use a different RFP process, combined with Idaho’s Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity process. Several parties submitted comments including the Northwest & Intermountain Power Producers Coalition (NIPPC), Renewable Energy Coalition (REC), Renewable NW (RNW), Staff, and Idaho Power.

At the same time Idaho Power submitted its waiver request in Oregon, Idaho Power submitted a similar, but broader, request at the Idaho Public Utilities Commission (the Idaho Commission) in Case No. IPC-E-21-41. In a prior decision, the Idaho Commission ordered Idaho Power to follow Oregon’s rules. In the Idaho Commission request, Idaho Power sought permanent waiver from the Oregon competitive bidding rules. Idaho Power also sought assurance from the Idaho Commission that utility-owned resources are preferred over third-party owned resources. The Idaho Commission has not yet issued a decision.

The Oregon Commission adopted Staff’s recommendation in Docket No. UM 2210 and denied Idaho Power’s waiver application. Overall, the Oregon Commissioners appeared skeptical of Idaho Power’s application and may have preferred Idaho Power to seek a partial waiver of the competitive bidding rules instead of a complete waiver of the rules.

The Oregon Commission did not issue a decision about whether Idaho Power’s near-term need might qualify for an exception to the competitive bidding rules. If Idaho Power ultimately acquires a resource, Idaho Power may submit an exceptions report and the Oregon Commission may conduct a prudency review to decide whether any exception applies and whether Idaho Power may pass the resource costs onto Oregon ratepayers.

Sanger Law, PC represented NIPPC and REC in this proceeding.

NIPPC represents electricity market participants in the Pacific Northwest, including independent power producers, electricity service suppliers, and transmission companies. NIPPC is committed to facilitating cost-effective electricity sales, offering consumers choices in their energy supply, and advancing fair, competitive power markets.
REC advocates for reasonable Public Utility Regulatory Policies Act and interconnection policies on behalf of renewable qualifying facilities that are located in Idaho, Montana, Oregon, Utah, Washington, and Wyoming.

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.