HB 2143 Increases Fees for Hydroelectric Companies

Signed into Law by Gov Brown on 07-19-21
Status (overview) of bill:https://olis.oregonlegislature.gov/liz/2021R1/Measures/Overview/HB2143

This bill changes annual fees, relicensing and reauthorization fees for all power claimants to match annual fees for other hydroelectric projects and revises hydroelectric fee structure. Changes timing requirement for appointment of panel to review fee amount.

Personal Choice and Responsibility
The $759,344 will come from rate increases and roll down to affect all Oregonians.

Fiscal Responsibility
This measure increases the annual fees on large projects (123.5 Total Horsepower (THP)) that are being relicensed starting at a base rate of $0.687/THP[increased from $0.405] annually adjusted based on CPI. The bill also requires that a Fee Review Panel convene at least every eight years to adjust the fee based on programmatic need and as the agencies hydroelectric project portfolio changes. The measure phases in the fee increase on larger projects, allowing these projects to pay $0.48/THP through 2023 or upon relicensing. The Water Resource Department (WRD) estimates the fee increase will result in an additional $759,344 Other Funds in the 2021 biennium. The fee revenue is split between WRD (9%), Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife (ODFW) (25%), and Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) (66%). WRD will transfer funds to ODFW and DEQ. These funds are assumed in the Governor’s budget and would become part of the agency’s budgets if approved by the Legislature.

Limited Government
Hydroelectric project operators in Oregon are required to pay annual fees on each project based on the theoretical horsepower of each project. The fees are deposited into the Water Resources Department Hydroelectric Fund, from which proportions of the fees are used to pay certain hydroelectric program costs accrued by the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality, the Water Resources Commission, and the Water Resources Department. HB 2143 changes the annual fee for hydroelectric projects. The measure would establish a fee computation methodology for hydroelectric projects, including a methodology for projects that divert water from a point on a river that forms a border with another state. House Bill 2143 would change the annual relicensing and reauthorization fee for claimants other than a license holder to match annual fee for other hydroelectric projects. The bill would change timing requirement to at least once every eight years for appointment of panel to review the hydroelectric project fee amount.

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