Utility Reform Project
  · Advanced search

The Oregonian - Letters to the Editor

Rates should go down with PUD


Portland General Electric and PacifiCorp representatives have managed to fool the Multnomah County Commission and many other public officials about the reality of a people's utility district, but individual voters, without other agendas, will be able to see the clear advantages of PUDs.

As Columbia County demonstrated, there are no large costs associated with splitting up an existing utility. When that PUD started, the oh-so-frightening "Swiss-cheese effect" occurred: Some cities in Columbia County voted against the district and stayed out of the PUD. Regardless, the district was formed at minimal cost. And, when the cities that opted out opted in -- filling the holes in the "cheese" -- there was no additional cost, and their rates went down.

PUD opponents speak of holes in the cheese, but the area including PGE's service territory is also served by Pacific Power, Salem Electric and McMinnville, Forest Grove and Canby municipal utilities. Yet PGE, the allegedly "unified" system, has the highest rates in the Pacific Northwest.

I urge elected representatives of affected cities and counties to talk to people who are not trying to save their stock options and bonuses, people without a vested interest in the very expensive status quo, people who haven't helped finance those same officials' election campaigns.

Chief petitioner Multnomah County PUD
Southwest Portland