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State regulators charge PacifiCorp with failure to plan

by STAFF REPORT
Staff Report | June 12, 2022 1:40 PM

LACEY — The Washington Utilities and Transportation Commission, the body that regulates the state’s utilities, has filed a complaint against Oregon-based utility PacifiCorp for failing to consider the social cost of greenhouse gas emissions as it crafted its clean energy implementation plan, according to a commission press release.

PacifiCorp serves Washington customers in the Yakima Valley and the Walla Walla area as Pacific Power and Light, as well as portions of Oregon and northern California. The commission said the company failed to consider the likely costs of additional carbon dioxide emissions as is required by Washington’s Clean Energy Transformation Act (CETA), passed by the legislature and signed into law in 2019.

“UTC staff found that PacifiCorp violated state law and a related commission order by not including this cost in its preferred investment portfolio,” according to the press release.

The press release UTC staff are asking the three-member commission to fine PacifiCorp the maximum amount of $1,000 per day for its failure to follow commission rules and plan properly, which could result in a total fine of $730,000. However, commissioners are not bound by staff recommendations and will meet on June 30 to set a timetable for hearings in the matter.

PacifiCorp is owned by Des Moines-based Berkshire Hathaway Energy, an Omaha-based holding company Berkshire Hathaway subsidiary, which is majority-owned by billionaire investor Warren Buffet. Class-A shares in Berkshire Hathaway, which trade on the New York Stock Exchange, ended Wednesday trading at $463,300 per share, down nearly 2% from the previous day’s closure. Class-B shares in the company fell 1.5% in Wednesday trading to close at $308.74 per share.

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