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Special meeting set to explain power deal

By Jennifer Grimes

Triplicate staff writer

A special meeting of the Del Norte County Board of Supervisors is planned for Monday to inform itself and the public of the deal to buy out Pacific Power through Nor-Cal.

With the goal of making Del Norte Countys power provider a publically owned nonprofit company that can provide long-term stable rates, county officials are gathering with company representatives to make sure everyone is informed.

Representatives of Nor-Cal, PacifiCorp (parent company of Pacific Power), the Yreka City Council and the financial advisor on the project will be there to entertain questions about the sale and future rates.

We should have the resources there to answer any questions anyone could think of, said Del Norte County counsel Bob Black who has been an integral player in putting the deal together for Del Norte.

Black, along with Pacific Corp officials announced earlier this month a new sale agreement was reached that should gain approval of the California Public Utilities Commission and favor local residents.

If ratified by California Public Utilities Commission sometime next year, residents of Del Norte, Siskiyou and Modoc counties will be part of a public power cooperative and will benefit by seeing long-term, stable power rates. Ultimately, when the debt is paid, they may see rates go down.

Nor-Cal doesnt pay federal or state income tax and doesnt pay dividends to stockholders. The debt comes off much like a mortgage and optimistically in less than 20 years, the public will own the system outright. Rates will significantly drop off, said Black.

The two groups did not announce a purchase price for PacifiCorps Northern California holdings, but said that price will be announced when a final deal is struck.

Right now ratepayers spend 6.1 cents per kilowatt/hour. PacifiCorp plans to raise electricity rates 30 percent soon to 9.1 cents per kilowatt/hour. But under Nor-Cal, if the deal goes through, bills will increase by just 13 percent, according to Black, and will remain relatively constant for at least 10 years.

The plan is to take public comment and take up a purchase agreement in December with the Nor-Cal commission, Black said.

The informational meeting starts at 3 p.m. Monday, Nov. 19 in the Flynn Center.

 


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