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City renews 10-year franchise with PGE


West Linn to collect 5 percent for use of right of way

Good news for the residents of West Linn, your access to electricity won’t be cut off any time soon. During its Jan. 28 meeting, the city council approved a franchise renewal agreement with Portland General Electric for utility right of way.

The agreement is for a 10-year term with the right to renegotiate at the end of the term. It continues the 3.5 percent franchise fee with the ability for increases if or when state law changes, along with a 1.5 percent privilege tax.

The city received about $734,000 annually from the agreement. This amount is 5 percent of PGE’s annual gross revenue from West Linn customers, which is typical among area cities. The money is collected from PGE customers as part of their bills and paid to the city by PGE.

PGE has had an agreement with the city since 1916 and has provided power to West Linn residents and businesses since the company’s inception at Willamette Falls in 1889.

Although West Linn and PGE were still operating under the old franchise agreement, it had technically expired Dec. 31, 2011. Although PGE wished for a 20-year agreement, West Linn opted for a term of 10 years.

The new agreement mirrors the old one but has expanding language conforming to state law, provides for better coordination between the city and PGE and improves the protection of the city’s liability. It also includes expanded payment language, auditing ability and city control of work within the right of way.

During the council meeting former Mayor Norm King expressed concern about PGE maintenance workers routinely cutting off the tops of trees. Councilors asked staff to ensure PGE has a copy of the city’s tree ordinance.