Oregon PUC refuses to issue order on competitive bidding

The Oregon Public Utility Commission (PUC) has denied a petition filed by the Northwest and Intermountain Power Producers Coalition (NIPPC) to open a rulemaking and concurrent investigation addressing the PUC’s competitive bidding guidelines.

The Oregon PUC issued its written decision May 19.

NIPCC had filed a petition in late April seeking Commission action in response to two Requests for Proposals (RFPs) issued by PacifiCorp, dba Pacific Power. Pacificorp is part of the Berkshire Hathaway Energy family of companies.

First, NIPPC had requested the PUC adopt temporary rules to prohibit a utility from acquiring an ownership interest in new renewable resources unless the resource is acquired in compliance with the state competitive bidding guidelines. Second, NIPPC asked the PUC to open an investigation to ensure that PacifiCorp’s RFP for renewable resources aligns with PUC policies and recently-enacted Senate Bill 1547.

“Finally, NIPPC requests we open an investigation and delay of PacifiCorp’s RFP seeking renewable energy certificates (REC) until we review the company’s plans to meet its renewable portfolio standard (RPS) requirements with REC purchases,” the PUC said in its order in AR 598, UM 1771, Order 16-188.

The PUC adopted the staff recommendation to deny NIPPC’s petition. “Although we are sympathetic to many concerns addressed in the petition, we conclude that we lack the authority to adopt rules that prohibit utility ownership of generating resources,” the PUC said.

The PUC also said that it was “convinced that opening the investigations requested by NIPPC may cause harm to customers, and decline to impose any form of partial remedial action in response to PacifiCorp’s decision to issue the RFPs.”

The PUC said that it would adopt a staff recommendation to open a permanent rulemaking on implementing SB 1547 to adopt rules “providing for the evaluation of competitive bidding processes that allow for diverse ownership of renewable energy sources that generate qualifying electricity.”

About Wayne Barber 4201 Articles
Wayne Barber, Chief Analyst for the GenerationHub, has been covering power generation, energy and natural resources issues at national publications for more than 20 years. Prior to joining PennWell he was editor of Generation Markets Week at SNL Financial for nine years. He has also worked as a business journalist at both McGraw-Hill and Financial Times Energy. Wayne also worked as a newspaper reporter for several years. During his career has visited nuclear reactors and coal mines as well as coal and natural gas power plants. Wayne can be reached at wayneb@pennwell.com.