Oregon Public Benefit Funds for Rate Assistance
Oregon's restructuring law authorized collection of $10 million for low-income electric rate assistance through a meters charge on customers of the state's two investor-owned electric utilities. Due to the passage of SB 461 by the Oregon Legislature in 2007, the amount collected through the meters charge increased to $15 million annually. The funds must be expended solely for low-income electric bills in the service area of the electric company from which the funds are collected. Priority is directed to low-income electricity consumers in danger of having their electricity service disconnected. The funds are distributed through the local agencies that operate LIHEAP.
Additionally, legislation enacted in 2001 allows natural gas companies to collect funds through a meters charge for bill payment assistance. In 2007, NW Natural Gas collected about $1.6 million from a monthly charge of 25 cents per residential customer for an assistance program called Oregon Low Income Gas Assistances. Avista collected about $230,000 in 2007 for bill payment assistance.
For more information, see electric utility restructuring.
2006: $9.3 million