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Utility’s retort to city power
Pacific Power looks to protect market in Klamath
by ANDREW CREASEY, Herald and News 5/8/13
It was the opening round of what could be a prolonged struggle between Pacific Power — looking to protect its market in Klamath Falls — and city officials, who are examining the cost of forming a publicly owned utility district that they believe will provide lower-cost power to their citizens.
The first retort from the utility giant regarding a possible municipal utility district (MUD) came Monday night at a Klamath Falls City Council meeting.
As far as retorts go, the statement given to the Council by Pacific Power regional community manager Angela Price was fairly innocuous.
“It was not a shot across the bow more than just a statement of what (Pacific Power) does for the town,” said Klamath Falls Mayor Todd Kellstrom, who is spearheading the effort to develop an MUD. “And we know that. We’re very aware of the community partner they’ve been.”
Price stated that Pacific Power paid about $1.5 million in franchise fees in 2012 and about $1.6 million in property taxes, of which 15 percent went toward schools.
Pacific Power also is an active community member. Most recently, the company awarded a $2,500 grant to the Klamath Falls Gospel Mission in support of its capital campaign fund to build a new women’s shelter.
The council meeting will not be the last time the city hears from Pacific Power, Kellstrom said.
“I expected it, and I expect more of that type of thing as our deliberations move forward,” Kellstrom said.
If the MUD is formed, the loss of franchise fees and property taxes will be compensated by the rate the city charges for power.
It is not yet certain if the city will move forward with an MUD. Officials are awaiting the results of a feasibility study, which will determine the associated costs of the transition and ultimately dictate whether the switch can yield a benefit for power users.
The city is receiving written proposals today from consultants seeking to conduct the feasibility study.
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Page Updated: Thursday May 16, 2013 12:31 AM Pacific
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