Portland General Electric
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Portland General Lifts Long-Term Load Growth Outlook

Feb. 21, 2022
The company’s leaders also have added to their capital spending plans for upcoming years.

The leaders of Portland General Electric Co. have lifted their long-term expectations for load growth and beefed up their capital spending plans through the middle of this decade.

Speaking to analysts and investors after reporting PGE’s fourth-quarter results last week, President and CEO Maria Pope and CFO Jim Ajello echoed many of their peers in other growth regions of the country by saying that the post-COVID economic recovery produced strong load growth in 2021. Overall, weather-adjusted demand rose 4%, with load from residential customers rising 1% while demand from commercial and industrial customers grew 4.2% and 8.5%, respectively.

Those numbers and the prospects of more steady in the company’s service area, which is home to about 2 million people, have led PGE’s executives to take up their long-term growth guidance to 1.5% per year from 1%. The company last year delivered nearly 25.3MWh to customers.

The guidance provided by Pope and Ajello adds to the positive long-term outlook they provided in November. At that time, the duo also lifted PGE’s 2022 capital spending forecast to $665 million from $550 million – the company actually ended up topping that guidance by $25 million – and Pope and Ajello now have put in place similar updates to upcoming years: Instead of forecasting $550 million of spending annually from 2023 to 2025, $385 million of it targeting transmission and distribution, they now expect to put to work $650 million in each of those years as well as in 2026.

Those plans break down as follows: T&D projects will now receive $430 million each year while generation is being allocated $120 million and general business and technology work is in line for $100 million annually. (The dollar figures exclude possible spending from a request for proposal PGE issued last fall asking for up to 500 MW of renewable energy and another 375 MW of non-emitting capacity.)

“We are advancing our use of technology and digital capabilities, accelerating our procurement of renewable resources, and deploying infrastructure to advance a smarter grid,” Pope said in a statement. “We are seizing opportunities arising from the national momentum to address climate change and look forward to working with stakeholders and the communities we serve to create a stronger, sustainable and more resilient future for Oregon.”

For the fourth quarter, PGE posted a net profit of $66 million versus $52 million in the last three months of 2020. For all of 2021, the company earned $244 million on $2.4 billion in revenues, numbers that were up 57% and 12%, respectively, from the year before.

Shares of PGE (Ticker: POR) closed trading last week at $49.74, down 3% from the previous Friday. The company’s market capitalization is about $4.4 billion.

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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