Court dismisses bid for cheap power

Posted: Tuesday, July 29, 2008

GRANTS PASS, Ore. - A federal appeals court has dismissed a bid by farmers in the upper Klamath Basin to continue bargain rates for electricity they use to pump irrigation water.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit ruled Friday that the states of Oregon and California have jurisdiction over electric rates.

The three-judge panel dismissed the lawsuit brought by the Klamath Water Users Association against the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission for lack of standing.

PacifiCorp had refused to renew a 1956 contract that gave about 1,000 farmers on the Klamath Reclamation Project very low rates for electricity to pump irrigation water, arguing they would lose millions of dollars. The Portland-based utility did agree to phase in market rates over several years.

FERC refused to incorporate the cheap electric rates into conditions for a new operating license being sought by PacifiCorp to operate hydroelectric dams on the Klamath River.

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