Electric Rates Will Change October 1

Deer Island, OR – August 2, 2023 – During their July meeting, the Columbia River PUD Board of Directors voted to adopt new rates. Residential customers will see their bills go up $4.50 per month beginning October 1.

This is the PUD’s first rate adjustment since October of 2021. The driving force behind the increase is the recent rise in material costs. Since the PUD last adjusted its rates, the cost of pole-mount transformers has doubled while pad-mounted transformers have more than tripled in that same timeframe. The price for cable used for distributing electricity has also gone up in recent years.

“Across the board, everything has seen increases,” said Operations Manager Kurt Nasshahn. “Prices are going up fairly quickly.”

With these factors in mind, the Board of Directors and Rate Advisory Committee were pleased to be able to limit the overall increase to 5% across the PUD’s entire system.

“I’m really pleased to see you’re exercising restraint,” said Committee Member Bill Eagle during the Rate Advisory Committee meeting in June. “Every utility everywhere is going through the same fixed cost increases. It’s hitting everyone, and I think we’ve done a really good job. On top of this, the thing that really pleases me is we don’t have to pay dividends to stockholders.”

Residential customers will see a $4.50 increase on their monthly base charge, from $18 to $22.50. The energy charge will remain at 7.19¢ per kilowatt hour.

Other rate classes will be affected differently.

Small general service customers will have their monthly base charge go from $28 to $36. Irrigation bills will also have a $36 base charge, up from $20.

Large general service customers’ base charge will go from $50 to $68, and their demand charge will increase slightly, from $6.38 per kW to $7.40 per kW.

Industrial customers will face a 3.7% overall increase. Specific amounts vary based on which particular rate schedule they fall under.

“This rate increase will allow us to maintain the excellent service our customers have come to expect while keeping our rates as low as possible,” said PUD General Manager Michael Sykes.

When the PUD was energized in 1984, the Board of Directors at that time pledged to keep rates 5% lower than Portland General Electric (PGE), which used to serve this area. With the new rates, the typical monthly residential bill for a CRPUD customer will be about 45% lower than that of a PGE customer.

Once the new rates go into effect, the average CRPUD residential customer will see a monthly bill that’s about 18% lower than the statewide average and almost 40% lower than the national average.

The PUD’s Rate Advisory Committee met in June to review the findings of a Cost of Service Analysis performed by EES Consulting. The Board of Directors held a public hearing on the proposed rate change during its July 25 meeting.

You can view the updated rate schedules here.