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PacifiCorp argues to keep coal study confidential

Power News - Published on Wed, 25 Jul 2018

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Facing a challenge from the Sierra Club, PacifiCorp has asked Oregon utility regulators to keep a study into the economics of its coal plants out of public view. The company said making the information available privately to stakeholders, as it has done, fits with standard practice, and it questioned the Sierra Club's motives in the case.

The company said in a filing with the Oregon Public Utility Commission that “Because Sierra Club already has the confidential information for use in PacifiCorp’s resource planning process, Sierra Club’s objection is apparently designed to give it unfettered access for other purposes, such as media or political campaigns designed to support its views on PacifiCorp’s coal generation.”

The company went on to say that "the potential for the results of the coal analysis to be misrepresented to support Sierra Club’s policy narrative weighs against public disclosure."

The PUC ordered the study late last year at the urging of the Sierra Club, Citizens’ Utility Board, Oregon Department of Energy and its own staff as part of PacifiCorp's biennial long-term resource planning process.

The Sierra Club’s Beyond Coal campaign has argued that wind and solar power could be less expensive than power from many aging PacifiCorp coal plants.

In seeking to make the study public, the group characterized the unit-by-unit study as a key component in determining PacifiCorp's least-cost and least-risk portfolio of resources, something it said would customarily be made public. And it argued that as a regulated monopoly, PacifiCorp faced little risk in divulging the information.

PacifiCorp, however, said the study meets various trade secret criteria under Oregon law. It drew a distinction between this study and other "final and comprehensive" analyses that have been made public.

It said that "The company has never publicly disclosed preliminary and incomplete coal studies, like the coal analysis, which could mislead, rather than inform, the public.”

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Posted By : Rabi Wangkhem on Wed, 25 Jul 2018
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