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New state program to help with power bills

Qualifying Oregonians may be able to cut their utility costs nearly in half, thanks to a new bill passed last year, now coming to fruition.

The Oregon Legislature passed the Energy Affordability Act (HB 2475) in 2021, in part the work of statewide community organizing efforts from groups like Rogue Climate.

Known for supporting programs for Almeda Fire survivors, Alessandra de la Torre, Rogue Climate advocacy and programs director, expressed pride in the community work to push the bill to pass — and the importance of the new program.

“Our communities worked hard in 2021 to win this critical bill, which will have a big impact on families that experience the most financial hardships,” de la Torre said in a press release sent by Rogue Climate.

Oregon Public Utility Commission has new authority, thanks to bill HB 2475, to direct investor-owned energy utility companies to offer more flexible rate options.

Pacific Power customers immediately will see potential relief with the Oct. 1 launch of the company’s low-income discount program. Some households may see as much as a 40% reduction in monthly utility bills according to a press release sent by Pacific Power.

Customers already registered with the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program or the Oregon Energy Assistance Program automatically will receive a 20% discount on their Pacific Power bills, the release said.

“While there is still more work to do to secure household energy-saving options, like weatherization, reducing the cost of energy bills will provide some relief for families who have had to make sacrifices due to the high cost of utilities,” de la Torre said.

Reach Mail Tribune reporter Morgan Rothborne at mrothborne@rosebudmedia.com or 541-776-4487. Follow her on Twitter @MRothborne.