PGE offers first income-based energy bill discount program in Oregon

Published: May. 12, 2022 at 5:43 PM PDT
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PORTLAND Ore. (KPTV) - Portland General Electric is giving lower income customers up to 25 percent off their energy bill.

It’s a first of its kind program in Oregon, and it comes at a time when a lot of people could really use it.

Thanks to legislation that passed last year, investor-owned utilities in Oregon can now offer income-based energy bill discounts to customers.

PGE is offering a 15, 20 or 25 percent discount each month for two years to customers making 60 percent or less of the state median income.

For a one-person household, that threshold is about 30,000 dollars, and for a four-person household that’s about 56,000 dollars.

“A lot of sentiments from customers have kind of been overwhelming,” PGE Customer Resources Specialist Tyler Richardson said. “A lot of folks on a fixed budget, a lot of people struggling right now, so having the ability to enroll in something like this and to get some relief on their energy bill has been significant.”

Already 4,000 customers signed up, and Richardson believes about 150,000 customers, about 17 percent of PGE’s overall customers, qualify.

“A lot of people are coming to us looking for how to save money on their bills,” Sherrie Villmark, Program Director at Community Energy Project said.

She said this is more accessible for people than energy assistance programs, and things like remote work and extreme weather events exacerbate the need.

“As people are able to work from home or are forced to work from home and be home more, we’re using a lot more energy,” Villmark said. “If you can’t afford to run your air conditioning, if you can’t afford to run your heat, you’re vulnerable to extreme temperatures. Seniors and people with disabilities are especially vulnerable to that.”

They’ve been working with PGE on this and telling the people they serve about it too.

We checked in with other utilities to see if they might follow suit.

Pacific Power is working on it.

A spokesperson tells us they plan to have a discount program starting in August.

You can read more about PGE’s program, see if you qualify and apply here.