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Oregon-Northwest

Oregon PUC cuts fee for Pacific Power smart meter opt-out customers

Pacific Power smart meter
KTVZ file

SALEM, Ore. (KTVZ) The Oregon Public Utility Commission on Tuesday reviewed Pacific Power’s filing to reduce the monthly meter reading fee for customers who have opted out of using smart meter technology and decided to reduce meter reading fees for all opt-out customers.

Pacific Power’s filing had recommended moving all opt-out customers to a $10 monthly meter reading fee, a decrease of $26 a month for most opt-out customers.

Pacific Power’s request would have discontinued the triannual meter reading program, under which opt-out customers had been offered a lower monthly fee ($9 a month) for having their meters read manually three times a year and paying estimated monthly bills.

Customers with smart meter technology do not pay a monthly meter reading fee.

On Tuesday, commissioners decided the following:

  • To approve Pacific Power’s request to reduce the meter reading fee from $36 to $10 each month for smart meter opt-out customers on a monthly meter reading program, effective Wednesday.
  • To decline Pacific Power’s request to eliminate the triannual meter reading option for opt-out customers and direct Pacific Power to reduce the cost of that option from $9 to $3 per month, also effective Wednesday.
  • To direct Pacific Power to submit a more developed proposal to the PUC to consider transitioning opt-out customers away from the triannual meter reading option.

“We value the public comments we continue to receive on this topic and the engagement of the Citizens’ Utility Board of Oregon, which give us the customer perspective on these important decisions,” said Megan Decker, PUC Chair. “Today’s decisions will benefit Pacific Power customers who have opted not to use smart meter technology, but recognize that a considered transition may be possible in the future.”

In November 2018, the PUC requested alternatives to Pacific Power’s recommended $36 monthly meter reading fee for all smart meter opt-out customers. A pilot program was approved by Commissioners in March 2019 that decreased the number of meter reads to three annually for smart meter opt-out customers, reducing the monthly meter reading fee from $36 to $9.

If customers have questions about their monthly fees, please contact Pacific Power at 888-221-7070.

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KTVZ News Team

Comments

7 Comments

  1. Smart meters eliminate the cost and errors that result from employing meter readers and allow time of use metering, as the smart meter can be remotely read multiple times per day and can track usage over small intervals of time. This allows the consumer’s usage cost to track the utility’s cost to obtain the energy.

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