Electricity could cost more in Eugene this fall

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) The Bonneville Power Administration says it needs to raise its rates by 7 percent to 8 percent, beginning in October.

That could translate into a less than 3 percent increase for Eugene Water and Electric Board Customers.

BPA provides more than a third of the electricity for the Pacific Northwest, including 70 percent of the power distributed by EWEB. It sells the power from 31 federal dams and a nuclear plant in the Columbia River Basin to more than 140 utilities.

"Electricity costs are about half the cost paid by customers," explained Lance Robertson with EWEB. "The other half is the cost of delivering the electricity. So for every 1 percent increase in BPA wholesale power costs, it would impact customers by about 0.35 percent."

The proposed rates are subject to a public review and a final decision in July. Robertson said the actual impact to EWEB customers won't be known until BPA finalizes the rate increase.

BPA officials cite increased costs, including expenses for salmon recovery programs, and a decline in sales of surplus power outside the region. The surplus power sales subsidize rates in the Northwest and have been hurt by the recession.

(Copyright 2009 The Associated Press.)

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