Commission Resolves Boardman Outage Costs;
PGE Customer Rates Won’t Change
February 12, 2010 (2010-002) (UE 196)
Contacts: Lee Beyer, Chairman, 503 378-6611; Ray Baum, Commissioner, 503 378-6611; John Savage, Commissioner, 503 378-6611; Bob Valdez, Public Affairs Specialist, 503 378-8962
Salem, OR. Customer rates will not change as the result of a decision today by the Oregon Public Utility Commission. The decision settles a long-running question of what share Portland General Electric (PGE) customers will pay for the 105-day outage at PGE’s Boardman coal-fired power plant back in 2005 and 2006 due to a cracked turbine rotor.
PGE will not be allowed to collect $26.4 million the utility requested to help pay for replacing the power lost during the outage. The Commission decided that PGE was partially at fault for the outage because it failed to inspect the turbine’s support structure before installing the new rotor. Instead the Commission will permit the company to collect only half the amount or $13.2 million from customers.
“Experts testified that there were a number of contributing causes for the rotor failure which made it impossible to precisely assign the level of fault to any single cause,” Commission Chairman Lee Beyer said. “Faced with this uncertainty the Commission cut the amount that could have gone into PGE customer rates in half.”
After a review, the Commission decided in 2007 to limit the amount that PGE could seek to recover to $26.4 million for its excess power costs pending a further review. During the November 2005 through February 2006 outage at Boardman, PGE’s total replacement power costs were $47.5 million.
Today’s decision completes the second step of the review to determine how much customers should pay. This is known as a prudence review.
PGE customers will see no change on their bills because the Commission directed PGE to offset the $13.2 million with other customer credits, so the net effect will be zero.