Maria Pope

Portland General Ramping Up Capex Plans

Nov. 3, 2021
Grid-focused investments grow the utility’s 2022 slate by more than $100M.

The top executives at Portland General Electric have boosted their capital spending plans by more than 20% as they continue to prepare their systems for what President and CEO Maria Pope calls ‘the new realities of our markets.’

PGE’s 2022 capex budget now stands at $665 million versus a previously estimated $550 million. The increase allots $30 million more both to generation projects (which will total $110 million) and general business and technology needs (to $115 million), grows spending on both transmission/distribution by $20 million to $405 million and adds $25 million to finish the company’s 108,000-square-foot integrated operations center, which will house up to 350 people.

Speaking to analysts and investors after reporting third-quarter results, Pope and CFO Jim Ajello detailed the plans and said the added spending will accelerate PGE’s push into solar, battery storage and other distributed resource resources as well as boost the company’s ability to respond to periods of high demand.

“It's not just important to pricing. It's important to overall reliability,” Pope said. “We're moving quickly to reflect the new realities of our markets and the need for greater sustainability and a carbon-free future.”

Ajello said some of the added spending will help PGE digitize its operations, upgrade customer service capabilities and help its better manage the data it’s collecting from various sources.

Pope, Ajello and their team last month filed its inaugural distribution system plan with the Oregon Public Utilities Commission and initiated a request for proposal process for more renewable and non-emitting resources. The company estimates it will nearly triple its clean and renewable energy supply by 2030 and will need more than 1,500 MW of clean and renewable resources and about 800 MW of non-emitting dispatchable capacity resources.

Shares of PGE (Ticker: POR) rose nearly 2% to $50.15 Nov. 1. They are up nearly 20% year to date.

About the Author

Geert De Lombaerde | Senior Editor

A native of Belgium, Geert De Lombaerde has more than two decades of business journalism experience and writes about markets and economic trends for Endeavor Business Media publications T&D WorldHealthcare Innovation, IndustryWeek, FleetOwner and Oil & Gas Journal. With a degree in journalism from the University of Missouri, he began his reporting career at the Business Courier in Cincinnati and later was managing editor and editor of the Nashville Business Journal. Most recently, he oversaw the online and print products of the Nashville Post and reported primarily on Middle Tennessee’s finance sector as well as many of its publicly traded companies.

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