PacifiCorp is an electrical power generation and distribution company, with both utility and non-utility subsidiaries. One of these subsidiaries, Pacific Power, is a regulated utility that distributes electrical power throughout southeastern Washington, Oregon, and northern California. PacifiCorp’s other regulated utility, Rocky Mountain Power, distributes electricity to the residents of Wyoming, Utah, and southeastern Idaho. With over 15,622 miles of long distance transmission and 43,850 miles of overhead lines, Pacific Power and Rocky Mountain Power, combined, provide electricity to 1,668,000 customers over an area that includes 136,000 square miles of the western United States.
PacifiCorp Energy is a non-utility power generation subsidiary of PacifiCorp that supplies electricity to Pacific Power and Rocky Mountain Power, as well as other utilities throughout the western United States. With a total of 68 operational power generation facilities, PacifiCorp Energy’s assets have a combined installed capacity of generating 9,140 megawatts. PacifiCorp is also the majority owner of the NERCO mining company, a coal mining subsidiary it spun off in 1977.
PacifiCorp is currently owned by the MidAmerican Energy Holdings Company, which is itself owned by Omaha-based Berkshire Hathaway. Formed in 1987 by the merger of the Salt Lake City, Utah-based Utah Power and Light Company and the Pacific Power and Light Company, which was in turn held by PacifiCorp of Portland, Oregon, PacifiCorp’s utility operations were divided in 2006 when the newly-formed subsidiaries of Pacific Power and Rocky Mountain Power took over the territorial operations of Pacific Power and Light and Utah Power and Light. Historically, UPL could trace its origins back to its 1912 organization by the Electric Bond and Share Company of New York. Pacific Power and Light had earlier been formed as a result of a 1910 merger among several failed Pacific utilities.
PacifiCorp’s non-utility, energy producing subsidiary, PacifiCorp Energy, was formed after the company’s 2006 reorganization under Berkshire Hathaway. Currently, nearly 71% of the electricity generated by PacifiCorp Energy facilities comes from burning coal or natural gas, with an additional 6.7% coming from hydroelectric dams and 0.2% from wind farms. The remainder of PacifiCorp’s power supply is provided through contracts with other electricity suppliers. Among PacifiCorp Energy’s facilities, the 1,143-megawatt coal-fired Jim Bridger plant in Point of Rocks, Wyoming, of which PacifiCorp is a two thirds stakeholder, is its most powerful. The Lewis River Dam, at 578 megawatts, is its greatest hydroelectric energy producer.
With a history that spans more than a century, Pacific Corp’s development almost certainly involved the ownership and operation of facilities that contained the insulating material asbestos. Despite its ability to withstand heat, fire and electricity, asbestos poses serious health risks to employees exposed to it on a continual basis without protection. Unfortunately, much of this corporation’s history took place before the dangers of asbestos were widely discussed, meaning countless former and current employees may be at risk for developing a disease related to exposure.