The ratepayers filed their petition on July 14th with the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) asking that the CPUC use existing rules to review the prudence of PacifiCorp continuing to spend heavily in its campaign to secure a new long-term license from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) for operating its Klamath Hydroelectric Project.
They fear PacifiCorp has already spent too much (about $50 million) on the antiquated dams, and that it is in the ratepayers’ best interest for the dams to come out.
“We’ve become increasingly concerned,” said ratepayer Susan Botts, “as we’ve watched this dam re-licensing issue play out.” Botts and her family live on the Yurok Reservation near the mouth of the
The people who signed the petition to the CPUC live in Del Norte County and in
Because of the toxic algae, nutrients and other pollution that the dams produce and release down the river, the petitioners say that the Klamath Hydroelectric dams represent a human health risk and a huge financial and legal liability that must not fall on the ratepayers, many of whom have only modest incomes. “If PacifiCorp insists on spending recklessly trying to re-license the Klamath Project, then PacifiCorp should be the ones financially and legally on the hook – not us.” Botts said.
“We have our own
Customers are called “ratepayers” in utilities parlance. PacifiCorp has been claiming for some time that their only interest is to protect the interests of their ratepayers. Botts, Pace and the other petitioners think the company’s behavior is more geared toward getting the ratepayers to pay for everything.
PacifiCorp makes about $3 million a year in profit from the Klamath dams — paid by the ratepayers. If the ratepayers are forced to pay for PacifiCorp’s relicensing plan, they would end up paying PacifiCorp an annual profit of about $40 million — for dams that the downstream public doesn’t want. “Does this make sense?” asked Pace. “Why should we pay PacifiCorp a profit on something that we don’t want – that harms us? We need the CPUC to give this situation a thorough and independent analysis.”
“We simply don’t trust PacifiCorp to look out for our interest,” said Susan Botts.
Portland-based PacifiCorp’s is owned by Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway Investment Company.