On May 5, the California Public Utilities Commission granted PacifiCorp’s Application to implement the Klamath Hydroelectric Settlement Agreement. This precedent-setting Settlement helps clear the way for the first large-scale removal of hydroelectric generating dams, helping to restore the vitality of a major American river.
Goodin MacBride partner Michael Day represented PacifiCorp in the proceeding, which will result in a small rate surcharge for PacifiCorp’s California customers, similar to one enacted in Oregon. It will help pay for the decommissioning and removal of four dams and generating stations along the Klamath River, targeted for 2020.
The river has been plagued by water quality issues and threats to the important salmon fishery. The Klamath has seen higher water temperatures and increased algae formation, harming the fish population. The goal of the Settlement is to improve the water quality by removing the dams.
The Settlement was brokered by PacifiCorp, the states of California and Oregon, and a multitude of environmental groups, fisherman’s organizations, Native American tribes, and the federal government.
The proceeding, Application 11-05-022, involved full evidentiary hearings, resulting in the approval of PaciCorp’s rate surcharge, modifications to the depreciation of the hydroelectric facilities to account for their decommissioning in 2020, and conditional approval to transfer the hydroelectric assets to a federal agency prior to removal, while capping the exposure of ratepayers and the utility for dam removal costs.
Goodin MacBride will continue to represent PacifiCorp through the process of setting up trust accounts for the surcharge revenues, as well as any additional issues related to the implementation of the complete Settlement.