Portland General Electric reported on April 30 a net income of $96 million or $1.07 per diluted share for the first quarter of 2021, beating its net income of $81 million or 91 cents per diluted share for the first quarter of 2020.

"While the first quarter presented challenges, the team remains focused on supporting customers," Maria Pope, PGE president and CEO, said in a prepared statement. "I am proud of the way we came together to restore power quickly, and safely, during a once in 40-year ice event. These events demonstrate the importance of continued investment in a safe, reliable and resilient grid."

PGE's service territory was rocked by a series of historic storms—starting on Feb. 11—that caused Oregon Gov. Kate Brown to declare a state of emergency. Through March 31, PGE has incurred an estimated $87 million in incremental costs related to the storm, the company reported.

The company also announced in its quarterly report to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission that the Division of Enforcement of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission and the Division of Enforcement of SEC are probing the company's energy trading losses from August 2020. The utility is also facing three separate shareholder lawsuits over what the company described as "ill-conceived trades" that resulted in a $128 million write off (CU No. 1984 [16]).

But PGE's service territory is showing signs of coming back to life after a year of COVID-19 induced lockdowns.

Retail energy deliveries for the quarter increased 1.2 percent, weather-adjusted, compared to the same period of 2020. This was driven by an 8 percent increase in industrial deliveries, powered by the expansion in the high-tech and digital sectors, and 3 percent growth in residential deliveries as the average number of residential customers increased by 1.3 percent. These increases were partially offset by a 5 percent decrease in commercial deliveries, the company reported.

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Editor - Clearing Up

Steve began covering energy policy and resource development in the Pacific Northwest in 1999. He’s been editor of Clearing Up since 2003, and has been a fellow at the Institute for Journalism and Natural Resources and University of Texas.