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Oregon PUC: Utilities seek to pass tax-cut savings to customers

SALEM, Ore. - The Oregon Public Utility Commission said Friday it is receiving applications from regulated electric and natural gas utilities to provide savings to their customers due to the recently passed tax reform legislation. 

The filings ask the commission to authorize deferrals to track the changes in tax obligations so that future savings may be reflected in rates. 

Applications submitted to date include Portland General Electric, PacifiCorp, Northwest Natural and Avista, while Idaho Power and Cascade Natural Gas Company filings were expected later Friday.

“The commission has been working with the regulated utilities to ensure tax deferral applications are submitted to benefit customers,” said Jason Eisdorfer, the PUC's utility program director. “Our own staff is prepared to file an application to guarantee savings to ratepayers, should a utility not file their own or their filing does not meet the commission’s standards.”

The utilities’ retail rates in Oregon currently assume a 35 percent tax rate, which is passed on to customers. The federal Tax Cut and Jobs Act, recently passed by Congress, drops the corporate tax rate to 21 percent.

“Once commissioners approve the tax deferral filings, utility service providers will be required to start tracking changes resulting from the tax reform legislation," Eisdorfer said. "The commission would then consider the appropriate ratemaking treatment at a later date.”  

 For more information on the PUC, visit http://www.puc.state.or.us/Pages/Index.aspx


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