PGE v. Alfalfa Solar I, LLC

Summarized by:

  • Court: Oregon Court of Appeals
  • Area(s) of Law: Administrative Law
  • Date Filed: 01-05-2023
  • Case #: A173197
  • Judge(s)/Court Below: Lagesen, C.J. before; Mooney, P.J.; DeVore, S.J.
  • Full Text Opinion

We look at the text of the relevant provisions in the context of the entire agreement. If the meaning is clear from that examination our analysis ends. Yogman v. Parrott, 325 Or 358, 361, 937 P2d 1019 (1997).  The provisions unambiguously provide that a PPA between PGE and a QF... (2) any such term starts on the date of contract execution; (3) the fixed price option is available only for the first 15 years of that term starting on the effective date of contract execution; and (4) for a contract with a term that is longer than 15 years, the fixed price is available only for the first 15 years of the term.

Alfalfa Solar I and other parties, ("Petitioners") petitioned for judicial review of a final order under ORS 183.48. Public Utilities Commission ("PUC") issued a final order determining the starting date of the 15-year fixed rate of the Power Purchase Agreements ("PPAs") between Portland General Electric ("PGE") and renewable energy generating facilities. The PUC determined the 15-year period began at the date of contract execution, not the date of first delivery of power for purchase under the PPA. Petitioners challenge the PUC's jurisdiction and interpretation of the disputed PPA provision. Petitioners argued that the complaint procedure does not apply, that contractual interpretation are outside the PUC's jurisdiction, that PUC does not have authority under the statute, and that post-PPA-execution regulation is unlawful. The Court dismissed those arguments and held that PUC plainly has jurisdiction under ORS 756.500. Regarding PUC's interpretation of the statute, the Court reviewed the provision under the Yogman framework, looking at the text of the provision in the context of the entire agreement. Yogman v. Parrott, 325 Or 358, 361, 937 P2d 1019 (1997). The Court rejected petitioner's argument under section 4.5 and held that the PUC did not err in determining the fixed price term of the PPAs. AFFIRMED.

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