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SOUTH COAST — Pacific Power has filed a proposal for a new Fixed-Bill Pilot with the Public Utility Commission of Oregon.

In a press release sent out on Friday, Jan. 11 from the company, the Fixed-Bill Pilot would “help alleviate the financial impacts of the monthly $36 meter reading fee,” or the opt-out fee customers have to pay to not have the new smart meters installed. The program would do this by reducing the number of annual meter reads.

“Pacific Power’s rollout of smart meters continues in Oregon through 2019, an upgrade which gives customers greater insight into their home or business energy use and brings new benefits such as reduced outage times,” the release said. “We remain committed to supporting our customers during this change, responding to their needs and listening to their feedback.”

According to the release, listening to customer feedback led to the proposed program, which will be presented during a public hearing in Salem on Tuesday at 9:30 a.m. at the Public Utility Commission of Oregon. If approved, the Fixed-Bill Pilot will be available by March 1 for an initial group of 200 customers.

Also according to the release, the Fixed-Bill Pilot would allow opt-out customers to pay a monthly fixed dollar amount for a 12-month period and have their meter read three times per year. The monthly payment would include an average of the customer’s most recent 12-month energy bills, a 7.5 percent adder fee to cover energy usage fluctuations, plus a $36 meter reading fee charged three times per year across 12 months or $9 per month.

“There would be no annual reconciliation against the customer’s energy consumption,” the release said.

The pilot program would also, prior to the end of 12 months, give the customer an option to continue participation in the program.

“Below is an example of how a monthly bill on the pilot could be calculated,” the release said, adding that the example is based on the average monthly use of 900 kWh for an Oregon residential customer.

Average bill (based on prior 12 months): $98.52 for 900 kWh per month

7.5% Adder: $7.39

Meter Reading Fee: $9.00

Monthly Payment: $114.91

Customers who want to provide feedback can contact the Public Utility Commission of Oregon at 800-522-2404 or the Oregon Citizens’ Utility Board at 503-227-1984.

Customers can also reach Pacific Power by calling 866-869-8520 or visit  www.pacificpower.net/smartmeter to learn more about smart meters.

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Reporter Jillian Ward can be reached at 541-269-1222, ext. 235, or by email at jillian.ward@theworldlink.com. Follow her on Twitter: @JE_Wardwriter.

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