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State Agency Intervenes in PacifiCorp Rate Hike Request

State Agency Intervenes in PacifiCorp Rate Hike Request

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SALT LAKE CITY (AP) -- A governor-appointed state agency has filed testimony opposing PacifiCorp's proposed $111 million rate increase.

The Committee of Consumer Services said Monday in a written statement the company's requested 9.6 percent rate hike for Utah Power customers was "substantially overstated," and instead suggested rates be cut by 3.4 percent, or $39 million.

The committee, a consumer rights group established by state law, determined that the company's "revenue, expense and capital projections are either unreasonable or unsupported," according to the statement.

PacifiCorp spokesman Dave Eskelsen called the committee's position "puzzling."

Eskelsen said the company is not earning enough in Utah to keep up with improvements needed to provide good service.

"The hundreds of millions of dollars in increased investment Utah Power has made and plans to make in Utah to distribution, generation and transmission systems is prudent action necessary to continue reliable service to Utah customers," Eskelsen said.

He said the company was reviewing the testimony, and planned to meet with the committee in settlement conferences "that may or may not resolve some or all of these issues."

"We believe the company's affirmative case for a rate increase is well-reasoned and defensible," he said.

The Public Utilities Commission will have the final say on the increase request.

(Copyright 2004 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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