Energy in Oregon

Electricity bills in Oregon include a public purpose charge, which helps fund energy conservation, efficiency, and renewable projects in the state.

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. The charge collected is equal to 3 percent of​ their revenues and funds 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, allocates 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 designates 63 percent for energy conservation, 19 percent for renewable energy projects, 13 percent for low-income weatherization, and 5 percent for low-income housing. Those designated provisions result in the total allocation percentages of the public purpose charge funds to the five different public purposes highlighted below:

  • First 10 percent of funds to School Districts
  • 56.7 percent to Conservation
  • 17.1 percent to Renewable Energy
  • 11.7 percent to Low-income Weatherization
  • 4.5 percent to Low-income Housing

Three entities administer the funds to accomplish the five 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 110 school districts within PGE's and Pacific Power's service
territories. The districts collectively receive the first 10 percent of PPC funds to improve
energy efficiency in schools. Oregon Department of Energy facilitates the
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.

Self-Direct: Large Electric Consumer Public Purpose Program​
Large 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 conservation and renewable portions of their public purpose charge. Large consumers can certify sites and projects using an interactive online application process administered by ODOE staff.
Energy Trust of Oregon - Public Purpose Funds

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