Public purpose charges help fund energy conservation in schools, low-income weatherization and housing, and renewable energy projects in Oregon.
Public Purpose Charge
Senate Bill 1149 directed Oregon's two largest investor-owned electric utilities – Portland General Electric and Pacific Power – to collect a public purpose charge from their customers. Through December 31, 2021, the charge collected was equal to 3 percent of their revenues and funded energy efficiency, development of new renewable energy, and low-income weatherization projects throughout the state. ORS 757.612, the Oregon statute that outlines the requirements for public purpose charge expenditures, allocated the first 10 percent of collected funds to be distributed to school districts located within PGE's and Pacific Power's service territories. Of the remaining 90 percent, the statute designated 63 percent for energy conservation, 19 percent for renewable energy projects, 13 percent for low-income weatherization, and 5 percent for low-income housing.
In 2021, the Oregon Legislature passed House Bill 3141, which made numerous changes to the statues for the Public Purpose Charge. These changes include extending the Public Purpose Charge collection and programs associated through January 01, 2036, moved energy conservation funding out of the Public Purpose Charge to energy efficiency through utility rates, reduced the collection of 3% to 1.5% and lastly adjusted the funding percentages allocated to the remaining categories:
· 0.30% of 1.5% to School Districts
· 0.51% of 1.5% to Renewable Energy
· 0.55% of 1.5% to Low-Income Weatherization
· 0.14% of 1.5% to Low-Income Housing
Three entities administer the funds to accomplish the four public purposes. Two are state agencies, Oregon Department of Energy and Oregon Housing and Community Services, and the third is an independent nonprofit organization, Energy Trust of Oregon, which operates under a grant agreement with the Oregon Public Utility Commission.
School Districts: Public Purpose
Charge (SB 1149) Schools Program
Oregon has 111 school districts within PGE's and Pacific Power's service territories. The districts collectively receive the PPC funds to improve energy efficiency in schools and electrify their fleets. The Oregon Department of Energy facilitates administration of the Public Purpose Charge (SB 1149) Schools Program. ODOE approves reimbursement of school district PPC funds for allowable expenditures, including energy efficiency measures, zero emissions vehicles, and electric vehicle chargers.
Self-Direct: Large Electric Consumer Public Purpose ProgramLarge electric consumer sites that used over 8,760,000 kWh in the prior
year may be eligible for the Large Electric Consumer Public Purpose Program,
also known as the Self-Direct Program. Rather than pay the utility directly,
certified sites can self-direct the renewable portion of their public purpose
charge and the cost-effective
energy efficiency funded through rates. Large consumers can certify sites and projects
using an interactive online application process administered by ODOE staff.