HOUSE COMMITTEE ON

BUSINESS, LABOR AND CONSUMER AFFAIRS

 

 

March 07, 2003   Hearing Room E

9:00 A.M. Tapes  49 – 51                       

 

MEMBERS PRESENT:            Rep. Betsy Close, Chair

Rep. Mary Gallegos

Rep. Bill Garrard

Rep. Jeff Merkley

Rep. Mike Schaufler

 

MEMBERS EXCUSED:            Rep. Derrick Kitts, Vice-Chair

                                                Rep. Diane Rosenbaum, Vice-Chair

 

STAFF PRESENT:                  Megan Palau, Committee Administrator

Pam Cox, Committee Assistant

 

MEASURE/ISSUES HEARD:            HB 2564 – Work Session

                                                HB 2356 – Public Hearing

 

 

These minutes are in compliance with Senate and House Rules.  Only text enclosed in quotation marks reports a speaker’s exact words.  For complete contents, please refer to the tapes.

 

TAPE/#

Speaker

Comments

TAPE 49, A

003

Chair Close

Calls meeting to order 9:09 a.m. Opens work session on HB 2564.

HB 2564 – WORK SESSION

010

Megan Palau

Committee Administrator. Summarizes HB 2564.

012

Mark Long

Administrator, State Building Codes Division. Testifies in favor of HB 2564 and explains the process of purchasing one license for multiple building trades.

045

Rep. Gallegos

MOTION:  Moves to ADOPT HB 2564-1 amendments dated 03/05/03 (EXHIBIT G).

 

 

VOTE:  5-0

EXCUSED:  2 - Kitts, Rosenbaum

 

Chair Close

Hearing no objection, declares the motion CARRIED.

050

Rep. Gallegos

MOTION:  Moves HB 2564 to the floor with a DO PASS AS AMENDED recommendation and the SUBSEQUENT REFERRAL to the committee on Ways and Means BE RESCINDED.

 

 

VOTE:  5-0

EXCUSED:  2 - Kitts, Rosenbaum

 

Chair Close

Hearing no objection, declares the motion CARRIED.

060

Chair Close

Closes work session on HB 2564. Opens public hearing on HB 2356.

HB 2356 – PUBLIC HEARING

063

Megan Palau

Committee Administrator. Summarizes HB 2356.

073

Rep. Greg Smith

House District 57. Testifies in favor of HB 2356 and explains this is a state wide issue and will have ramifications on cities, counties and on the federal level.

160

Rep. Merkley

Points out that HB 2356 would only affect the City of Portland.

170

Rep. Smith

Responds intent for bill and need for the bill to be amended.

175

Rep. Gallegos

Asks what the effect would be on employment.

180

Rep. Smith

Responds that jobs would be transferred from the public to private sector.

190

Rep. Garrard

Refers to bankruptcy of power agency in Nevada.

195

Rep. Smith

Answers to the impact and the fiduciary body and displacement.

220

Doug Riggs

Oregonians for Jobs and Power (OJP). Testifies as a neutral party of HB 2356 and offers information about supporters of public takeovers (EXHIBIT A).

316

Rep. Merkley

Asks if anyone could be a member of OJP.

317

Riggs

Explains only members who have signed up

319

Rep. Merkley

Asks for a list of who is funding OJP.

321

Riggs

Answers he will supply the document requested and continues on the variety of schemes of takeovers.

410

Rep. Gallegos

Asks for a copy of his PowerPoint presentation.

423

Riggs

Responds this can be done.

435

Rep. Garrard

Refers to a report that Sen. Smith wrote on Pacific, Gas & Electric (PGE) collecting money from taxes.

TAPE 50, A

003

Riggs

Responds he does not have the details but will supply them for the committee and continues to describe future power rates.

062

Chair Close

Asks for explanation of operation costs.

065

Riggs

States he will supply a document of rates for ECONorthwest and continues to testify on the issue that PGE is still standing even though Enron has been mismanaged.

090

Rep. Schaufler

Asks about the status of PGE employees’ retirement funds.

093

Riggs

Explains PGE employees’ situation and notes that OJP is hoping the employees will purchase the company.

100

Rep. Schaufler

Notes he is unhappy in the way Enron has handled PGE but feels that with Portland buying PGE it would probably be handled better.

110

Riggs

Agrees and continues to explain the negative effect on people due to Enron and the possibility of government taking over PGE and describes OJP and the guidelines of operation.

240

Rep. Merkley

Asks if there are any other publicly owned entities.

245

Riggs

Answers that there are and they are all running well.

275

Gary Conkling

Regional Power Study Group. Testifies in opposition to HB 2356 and offers information on a study done by their intergovernmental group (EXHIBITS B & C).

350

Chair Close

Asks about concerns of smaller counties and stakeholders in PGE purchase.

358

Conkling

Explains coordination with stakeholders in addressing PGE purchase.

368

Rep. Merkley

Asks if he would address preferential power.

372

Conkling

Responds to evaluating preference power and contractual relationships.

TAPE 49, B

030

Chair Close

Asks how fee increases would be prevented once PGE is a public body.

034

Conkling

Explains the need to create reasonable accommodations.

040

Rep. Gallegos

Comments it looks like the counties represented in the report are taking a very proactive approach and is it devaluing PGE.

054

Conkling

Answers economic forces have been driven by activities that Enron generated.

080

Rep. Gallegos

Asks if the counties have the revenue to buy PGE.

085

Conkling

Indicates they do not, but PGE is a profitable company and the money comes from rate payers.

100

Rep. Schaufler

Comments it is impossible to quantify devaluing of assets of PGE, but it is important to address the mismanagement of PGE.

110

Erik Sten

Commissioner, City of Portland. Testifies in opposition to HB 2356 and states if HB 2356 passes OJP would be blocking other options for the purchase of PGE (EXHIBIT D).

155

Rep. Close

Asks about the option for employees to purchase PGE.

160

Sten

Explains discussions he has had regarding employee purchase of PGE. Addresses concerns of City of Portland with options for purchase of PGE.

270

Chair Close

Asks about relationship of Scottish Power taking over PacifiCorp and its effect on Oregon.

275

Sten

Answers the relationships have been acceptable and explains possibilities for PGE purchase.

290

Rep. Garrard

Comments on issues of a local government entity getting involved in a power company.

315

Sten

Suggests there are risks in City of Portland purchasing but they are considering other options.

380

Rep. Garrard

Asks if City of Portland would have to purchase bonds to purchase PGE.

385

Sten

Answers if the price is around what anyone else would pay then the bond market would be willing to issue bonds to purchase PGE.

405

Rep. Gallegos

Comments it sounds like City of Portland wants to purchase PGE.

410

Sten

Answers he cannot comment due to confidentiality agreement.

TAPE 50, B

007

Rep. Gallegos

Asks if City of Portland’s water billing system is fixed.

009

Sten

Explains problems with water billing system and how they have been addressed.

031

Rep. Gallegos

Asks for the amount of money that was lost.

034

Sten

Explains money lost and money recovered due to billing errors.

052

Rep. Merkley

Clarifies nature of problem with water billing system and the relationship between public and private entities. Asks about the possible breakup of PGE and Enron.

073

Sten

Discusses possible future of PGE and Enron.

110

Sandy Flicker

Executive Director, Oregon Rural Electric Co-Op Association. Testifies as a neutral party and offers information on proposals of PGE ownership (EXHIBIT E).

210

Rep. Gallegos

Asks if she knows the amount of taxes Morrow County has received.

213

Flicker

Answers she does not.

216

Jeff Bissonnette

Citizens Utility Board of Oregon (CUB). Testifies in opposition to HB 2356 and suggests the need to look for better options (EXHIBIT F).

260

Chair Close

Asks if that would retain an entity under Public Utility Commission.

262

Bissonnette

Acknowledges and continues description of current standing of PGE.

375

Rep. Merkley

Asks for list of those who fund CUB.

385

Bissonnette

States his board will provide it.

390

Rep. Merkley

Asks if buy-out by current PGE managers is an option.

395

Bissonnette

Answers that it is not.

405

Tom O’Conner

Director, Oregon Municipal Electric Utilities (OMEU). Testifies in opposition to HB 2356 and offers information on power companies elsewhere and states there are other options should be examined.

TAPE 51, A

001

O’Conner

Continues to describe other options that are sufficient to support the public.

042

Chair Close

Asks how the preferential power affects OMEU.

046

O’Conner

Answers that there are federal issues and the impact is not yet known.

070

David Barenberg

League of Oregon Cities (LOC). Testifies in opposition to HB 2356 and explains funding of LOC. Discusses issues that have been raised with other testimonies.

100

Rep. Gallegos

States that other cities will have a significant impact and asks what would happen if negotiations are not in their favor.

110

Barenberg

Answers that LOC would associate with others and facilitate communications to resolve issues.

120

O’Conner

States that OMEU will be involved in all levels.

130

Chair Close

Closes public hearing on HB 2356 and adjourns committee meeting at 11:10 a.m.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

EXHIBIT SUMMARY

 

A – HB 2356, written information, Doug Riggs, 39 pp

B - HB 2356, written testimony, Gary Conkling, 1 p

C – HB 2356, written testimony, Gary Conklin, 1 p

D – HB 2356, written testimony, Erik Sten, 3 pp

E – HB 2356, written testimony, Sandra Flicker, 4 pp

F – HB 2356, written testimony, Jeff Bissonnette, 2 pp

G – HB 2564, -1 amendment, staff, 2 pp