Pacific Power to throw switch in June on electricity rate increase

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WALLA WALLA -- Walla Walla Valley's Pacific Power customers will see an increase in the electricity bills starting June 1.

State regulators have approved a request from the Portland-based electric provider for a rate increase in March that will raise the bill average residential customers by about $1.24 a month.

The amount was set in a settlement approved by the state Utilities and Transportation Commission. It allows Pacific Power to raise an additional $4.5 million -- about 1.5 percent in total revenues. That figure is around one-third of the $12.9 million the utility requested in its initial filing last July.

Pacific Power's current overall rate of return is 7.74 percent.

The company, a division of MidAmerican Energy Holdings Co.'s PacifiCorp, provides electric service to about 130,000 customers in five Eastern Washington counties, including Columbia, Garfield and Walla Walla.

Under terms of the agreement Pacific Power will not be able to file another general rate case before Jan. 1, 2013.

Survey results due in mid-May on Alaska Airline use in Walla Walla

Results of an air-travel survey are expected to be presented to Alaska Airlines executives in mid-May, to be used in deciding whether to trim service to Walla Walla.

The Walla Walla Valley Chamber of Commerce has begun distributing the survey among its members and online with hopes of gathering as much information as possible to help maintain current service to the area. The survey can be accessed through the Chamber at ubne.ws/HVAqpO.

The survey was created by Duane Wollmuth, executive director of the Walla Walla Valley Wine Alliance, which along with the Chamber, Port of Walla Walla, Tourism Walla Walla and local businesses has been working with Alaska Airlines on the issue.

The Seattle-based airline plans to cut a daily inbound and outbound flight Tuesdays and Wednesdays this summer. The flights are expected to resume in the fall, officials say.

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