2021 Legislative Session
Despite many challenges caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, the 2021 Oregon Legislative Assembly passed important legislation directly or indirectly affecting the work of the Oregon Public Utility Commission (PUC). This legislation—much of which is built on Governor Brown’s Executive Order 20-04 to mitigate the impacts of climate change—create a new clean electricity standard for Oregon utilities, address the increasing wildfire risk with new prevention and mitigation measures, expand the PUC’s authority to create rate classifications, enhance Oregon’s efforts to support the adoption of alternative-fuel vehicles, and extend the public purpose charge (PPC) and modernized its use to fund energy conservation and renewable projects in the state.
Embedded throughout these bills is an amplified focus on equity and affordability. The PUC now has the ability in setting rates to consider the differential energy burdens on low-income customers and other factors that affect affordability for certain classes of utility customers. Groups representing low income and environmental justice communities are now eligible to receive intervenor funding assistance to participate in PUC proceedings. At least half of new funds collected for transportation electrification must be expended annually on underserved communities. As part of their clean energy efforts, utilities are required to convene advisory groups that include representatives of environmental justice communities and low-income ratepayers as part of their clean energy efforts. The PUC must establish new equity metrics to evaluate PPC expenditures.
View a summary of the numerous bills that impact the work of the PUC and the utilities we regulate.
The PUC's Role
To implement this new legislation, the PUC will need to both undertake significant new activities, as well as modify pending work previously started in response to the Governor’s Executive Order 20-04 and other clean energy policies. The PUC will also need to balance this work with our on-going significant work regulating the utilities and responding to regulatory filings, including general rate proceedings, utility resource planning and procurement, and other quasi-judicial and quasi-legislative activities.
To identify these numerous activities and allocate resources to manage them, the PUC has developed implementation game plans for the key bills impacting the agency. For each of these bills, we have developed two documents. The first is a summary document to describe what the bill does and requires of the PUC. The second is a Gantt chart that identifies near-term activities and the timing of those activities. The Gantt charts are living documents that will be updated regularly based on stakeholder input and other information that may require a reprioritization of PUC action and allocation of resources. Both documents contain links to PUC dockets and other resources.
HB 2021 – Clean Energy
HB 2475 – Differential Energy Burden/Intervenor Funding
HB 3141 – Public Purpose Charge
HB 2165/HB 3055 – Transportation Electrification/Transportation
SB 762 – Wildfire Prevention and Mitigation
SB 117 – Natural Gas Pipeline Safety