PacifiCorp Wants Out Of Mirror Pond Dam In Oregon

November 26, 2013
PacifiCorp Wants Out Of Mirror Pond Dam In Oregon

PacifiCorp announced Monday it is looking to retire its hydroelectric plant at Mirror Pond dam in Bend, Ore., and transfer ownership to another entity.

The utility said in a statement that it would not be cost-effective to make the repairs needed to continue operating the 100-year-old dam. A leak in early October, the third one in about five years, prompted a more thorough engineering inspection.

Mark Tallman, PacifiCorp’s vice president for renewable resources, said the dam is safe and in overall good condition but “it’s time to divest or retire our Bend hydroelectric plant.”

The dam diverts water for the hydroelectric plant and creates Mirror Pond on a section of the Deschutes River in downtown Bend.

“We’ve known and have been candid with the community that the facility was reaching the end of its useful life as a generating facility for PacifiCorp’s customers. That time is now here, accelerated by the recent new leak,” said Pat Egan, PacifiCorp’s vice president for customer and community affairs.

The company said it wants to talk to the city of Bend and the Bend Parks and Recreation District to see whether the dam could be placed under local control in a way that also serves the best interest of rate-paying utility customers.

Pacifi Corp serves 1.8 million customers in six Western states. Pacific Power serves customers in California, Oregon and Washington, while Rocky Mountain Power serves customers in Idaho, Utah and Wyoming.

“The company wants to be supportive of community efforts to preserve its vision for the future of Mirror Pond as long as PacifiCorp can also meet its regulatory obligations,” Egan said.

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