Oregon-based Portland General Electric Co. (PGE) is readying plans to reduce natural gas-fired generation, in keeping with the state’s objectives to lower carbon emissions, the CEO said last week.
In addition, PGE is keeping a close eye on the evolving developments in the Pacific Gas and Electric Co. (PG&E) bankruptcy proceeding and the devastating wildfires of the past two years, CEO Maria Pope said.
During a quarterly conference call to discuss financial results, Pope said California's issues are different than Oregon’s, but the company nevertheless is watching the PG&E developments.
"Obviously what is happening there is very complex, and the fires they have had have been truly tragic," Pope said. "There are very significant differences in Oregon and California law; we do not have anything like inverse condemnation in our state, and most states do not."
Oregon also operates in a "significantly different climate," with different types of vegetation and forests. "That being said, everyone in the industry wants to make sure that all of our tree trimming and vegetation management and equipment is not subject to some of the same things that happened in California. We have always taken the health and safety of our customers as the highest priority we serve."
Pope also talked about the utility’s efforts to de-emphasize natural gas-fired generation. The integrated resource plan (IRP) set for publication this summer would be consistent with the state's plans to reduce carbon emissions by 80% below 1990 levels by 2050, she said. The IRP also is consistent with the utility's plans for decarbonization, which include less gas-fired generation.
Over the next five years, PGE is projecting industrial sector power growth to exceed its overall annual customer growth of 1.3% with an estimated 2.2% each year.
PGE reported 4Q2018 earnings of $49 million (55 cents/share), compared with $42 million (48 cents) in the same quarter in 2017. For 2018, earnings were $212 million ($2.37), compared with $187 million ($2.10) for 2017.