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Commission approves PGE rate increase in the new year

The Oregon Public Utility Commission approved the rate increase for 2023, citing increased costs for producing and purchasing energy.

PORTLAND, Ore. — Portland General Electric has received the green light to raise its rates for electricity in 2023, according to the Oregon Public Utility Commission. The regulatory body cited increased costs for producing and purchasing energy heading into the new year.

The commission said that PGE's expected costs for buying electricity and natural gas in the energy markets for 2023 "has increased significantly" over forecasts from 2022, justifying the rate increase.

Those higher rates will go into effect just days from now, on January 1, 2023. This applies to PGE's 900,000 customers across 51 Oregon cities.

For a typical residential PGE customer using 780 kilowatt hours per month, monthly bills are expected to increase from $114.54 to $122.60, or about 7% more than in 2022. However, the actual impact will vary by energy usage in a given household.

“We recognize that increasing rates at a time when Oregonians are already dealing with high inflation presents challenges for many customers,” said Megan Decker, PUC chair. “Unfortunately, fuel cost increases and supply chain delays caused by global events, combined with increasing volatility in regional electricity markets, drive the price for utilities to produce and purchase electricity.

"Although the utilities cannot avoid all of the impacts of these higher prices in the short term, there may be options available for residential customers to help reduce the bottom line impact.”

PGE offers a bill discount program ranging from 15 to 25% for low-income customers. The discount applies for gross annual household incomes at or below 60% of the State Median Income as of Oct. 2022. A four-person household, for example, would need to make $60,126 or under to qualify. For someone living alone, the income cutoff is $31,266.

There are also bill support program offered by other agencies, like the Oregon Energy Fund, Oregon Energy Assistance Program, COVID Energy Assistance Program and Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program.

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