PGE’s Rate Increases Encourage Farmers to Adopt Energy Efficient Irrigation Systems

efficient irrigation

Starting on January 1, 2024, Portland General Electric (PGE) initiated a series of rate increases for residential and commercial customers, which are some of the company’s highest price hikes in decades. PGE’s rate increases are a response, in part, to rising power costs from inflation, a growing need for wildfire prevention and an investment in renewable energy.

This ruling extends to small farms and agricultural businesses, which should expect their rates to increase as much as 14.4%. In response, our team at Stettler Supply Company is working hard to identify solutions that help customers and other farmers throughout the Willamette Valley adapt to higher operational expenses and transition to efficient irrigation systems.

“Efficiency starts at the design phase of any project,” says Taylor Meyer, Stettler Supply’s co-owner and vice president. “Energy costs are starting to become more impactful, especially for farmers who irrigate heavily for the entirety of the summer months. We are working to bring in subsidized funding opportunities for farmers to help with the cost of variable frequency drives, larger pipes to allow for lower operational pressures and lower pump horsepowers.”

Reinke Training and Education Event

Recognizing the impact these rates will have on Oregonians, the Oregon Public Utility Commission (PUC) is encouraging PGE’s customers to seek financial support. Fortunately, there are many project funding opportunities available to residential and commercial customers, including incentive and rate discount programs to reduce energy consumption and adopt efficient irrigation systems and renewable energy sources.

To help our own customers access funding and adjust to PGE’s price hikes, the Stettler Supply team began 2024 by hosting a Reinke Education and Training Day on January 12 in Salem. The event featured representatives from the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) and Oregon Energy Trust, who presented project funding opportunities, cost-sharing options, and eligibility criteria.

“Educating producers on increasing energy efficiency and saving water, two of Marion County’s primary resource concerns, is invaluable when it comes to the family farming business,” says Les Bachelor, district conservationist at USDA-NRCS, who attended the training event. Attendees also learned about Reinke finance options, term loans, system discounts, and more.

Working Together to Help Oregon Farmers

While PGE’s rate increases may prove challenging for some customers, state regulators hope the decision will prompt Oregonians to take crucial steps toward energy efficiency. Stettler Supply’s co-owners, Taylor Meyer and Nolan Grimm, recognize the benefits efficient irrigation systems have on both the environment and local farmers. They are prepared to help customers not only switch to energy efficient equipment and technology, but access the financial resources needed to make system upgrades. 

“We have established close relationships with the Energy Trust of Oregon as well as our local USDA office. Both of these organizations play a very big part in representing irrigation energy efficiency funding pools and do a great job working with us to take care of our customers and keep the energy consumption manageable and cost-effective,” says Meyer. 

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