At long last Oregon regulators are beginning to rein in the state’s largest gas utility. Earlier this year NW Natural came to the Oregon Public Utitlity comission with a proposal to drastically raise its rates. The rate increases would mainly pay for executive bonuses, investments in an expanded infrastructure, anti-climate lobbying, blanketing the state with pro-fossil fuel advertising, and distributing school activity booklets that paint fossil fuels in a positive light. This time around the Oregon Public Utilities Commission refused to do NW Natural's bidding and pared its proposed rate increase – specifically reducing advertising and lobbying dollars, and admonishing the utility for inappropriate expenditures.
On this episdoe of Locus Focus we talk with Bob Jenks, executive director of the Citizena Utility Board (CUB) about how CUB's intervention along with many other citizen activists helped this time to rein in NW Natural's greed, and what comes next.