Rising energy costs pinch profits

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Saturday, April 01, 2006

Almost 70% of the 715 respondents to our online survey conducted by Conkling Fiskum & McCormick say rising energy prices have cut their profitability, but many also say they have not made any significant changes because of it.

“Changing behavior takes time,’’ notes deputy state economist Dae Baek. “In the short run, there is only so much you can do. ”

Baek says higher energy costs have had a surprisingly minor impact overall on the state economy because oil and natural gas prices are likely to stabilize, the global economy is doing well, and consumer spending is rebounding.

Steve Grover, with economic consulting firm EcoNorthwest in Portland, agrees the “playing with pain” attitude isn’t surprising because businesses put energy costs in perspective.

One surprise for Grover is the support for nuclear energy, coming from a state that has fought nuclear power. He says it shows respondents are being open-minded about options to reduce energy costs.
Grover adds that given the high level of interest (80%) for tax incentives, businesses should contact groups such as the Energy Trust of Oregon, the Northwest Energy Efficiency Alliance and Portland’s Office of Sustainability to get information on existing energy tax credits, incentives and energy cost-saving measures.

— Robin Doussard

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