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Consumer Information Center

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Need help understanding your utility bill or resolving a dispute with your electric, natural gas, water or telecommunication service provider? The Oregon Public Utility Commission (PUC) can help. Submit your questions or complaint by email, or call Consumer Services at 503-378-6600 or 800-522-2404. Read below for additional information.  
 
NOTE: During the COVID-19 outbreak, it may be best to contact our Consumer Services Team by email at: puc.consumer@puc.oregon.gov.
 
The Oregon Public Utility Commission (PUC) has approved debt relief programs to benefit residential customers of Portland General Electric (PGE), PacifiCorp, Idaho Power, NW Natural, Avista, and Cascade Natural.

Intended to keep those who need the most help connected to essential utility services without fear of past due balances or interruptions in service, these programs go into effect April 1, 2021, with the exception of NW Natural, whose program goes into effect May 3.

Learn about the program options for your utility service provider below!

Debt Relief Program Options & Utility Contact Information

Portland General Electric (PGE)

  • 50/50 Plan – A one-time PGE bill payment to match a customer payment of an equal value.
  • Three-Month Payment Match – PGE will match customer payments for up to three months or until the outstanding balance is $0.
  • Extended Match Program – PGE will match customer payments for up to 12 months if the customer enrolls in a Time Payment Arrangement Plan for up to 24 months. 
  • Customer Assistance – A one-time bill payment by PGE up to $500 for qualifying customers to get their account current. This will cover any remaining balance for customers who received energy assistance through the Oregon Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP).
  • Reconnect Assistance – Once the disconnection moratorium expires, PGE will match a customer’s payment to reconnect their disconnected service.

PGE customers are able to enroll in more than one of these programs up to a maximum benefit amount of $1,000.

For more information, visit Portlandgeneral.com/matchmypayment​ ​or call 800-542-8818.

PacifiCorp (Pacific Power) 

PacifiCorp customers may enroll in one of the following programs:
  • Extended Payment Match – Qualifying customers who require long-term payment arrangements on past due balances will receive a monthly payment match up to $1,000 for 12 months, until the past due balance is paid in full, or the $1,000 maximum is met.
  • Instant Grant – A one-time grant up to $500 is offered to help customers pay off past due balances, reconnect service, or set up an extended payment plan.

For more information, call PacifiCorp at 888-221-7070.

Idaho Power 

Idaho Power customers may enroll in one of the following programs:
  • 40/60 Balance Split – A one-time grant for qualifying customers with larger past due balances who are able to make a lump sum payment of 40 percent of their balance. Idaho Power will then pay the remaining 60 percent of the balance up to $1,200.
  • Payment Arrangement Match – Relief to qualifying customers able to make payments over time. Idaho Power will match the payments up to a total of $1,200 or 12 months.
  • Instant Grant – A one-time credit/grant up to $250 to provide immediate debt relief to qualifying customers with smaller past due balances. 

For more information, call Idaho Power at 800-388-6040.

NW Natural 

  • Instant Grant – A one-time immediate grant up to $300 to provide immediate debt relief for qualified customers with smaller past due balances.
  • 50/50 Matching Grant – A one-time matching grant to provide debt relief, up to $600, when their matching payment equal to 50 percent of the total account balance is received.
  • Time Payment Arrangement with Matching Grant – The customer enrolls in a time payment arrangement and receives a matching grant installment toward their past due balance each month their payment is received. The grant is equal to 50 percent of the total account balance, up to $1,200, divided equally by the number of payments required by the time payment arrangement.

NW Natural customers may enroll (starting May 3, 2021) in more than one of the program options for a maximum program benefit of $1,200.

For more information, call NW Natural at 800-422-4012 (7 a.m. - 6 p.m. Monday-Friday).

Avista 

  • Automatic Grant – Designed for customers with a history of low-income program eligibility, customers will automatically receive a one-time grant equal to the amount of their total past due balance up to $1,500.
  • Arrearage Forgiveness Grant – A one-time grant to forgive past due balances up to $1,000 for customers who have received energy assistance with the last 24 months.

For more information, call Avista at 800-227-9187.

Cascade Natural Gas

  • Automatic Hardship Grant – Designed for customers with a history of low-income program eligibility, qualified customers will automatically receive a one-time grant equal to the amount of their total past due balance up to $1,500.
  • Financial Hardship Grant – Designed for customers who have not received energy assistance in the last 24 months but is experiencing hardship due to COVID-19. Cascade Natural will determine the qualified customer’s benefit amount based on household size, income, and account balance. The grant, not to exceed $1,500, will be applied to the customer’s past due balance.

For more information, call Cascade Natural at 888-522-1130.

Electric and Natural Gas

Information During the Pandemic:
First, review the debt relief program options available to qualifying residential electric and natural gas of PGE, PacifiCorp, Idaho Power, NW Natural, Avista, and Cascade Natural, which are explained above in the drop-down titled, "Debt Relief Programs for Electric & Natural Gas Customers."

The major investor-owned electric, natural gas, telephone, and water utilities (IOUs) currently have moratoriums on disconnections during the COVID-19 pandemic. Most of these companies have also agreed to waive any late payment charges. Additionally, the PUC conducted an investigation and workshop series into the Impacts of COVID-19, which lead to the development of stipulated agreements with utilities. View these agreements online for additional information.​ Although IOUs are delaying disconnections, you will be responsible for any outstanding balances when disconnections resume. We encourage you to take steps now, to keep their utilities on, when the moratorium is lifted. Our hope is that you will take a proactive approach with your utility company to prevent the disconnection of utilities due to a large unpaid bill. Some things you can do now:
  • ​​Make payments when you can – even small amounts will reduce your overall balance
  • Call energy assistance to see if you qualify (see links below in the General Information)
  • Call your energy company to make long-term payment plans (select numbers listed below)
  • Check out energy saving tips ​
  • Review your telephone bills for unnecessary features
  • Call to see if you qualify for telephone assistance 

Contact the Commission’s Consumer Services to register a complaint if you have not been able to reach satisfactory payment arrangements with your utility. Call 503-378-6600 or 800-522-2404, or email us​.​

The PUC regulates investor-owned utilities throughout Oregon. If you are a customer of a cooperative, municipality, or district, the Oregon PUC does not have jurisdiction over these utility service providers. If you have been unable to come to a satisfactory payment arrangement with your unregulated provider, you can speak with their board or city council members regarding your grievance. Those are the individuals responsible for making decisions about payment arrangements, late fees, and disconnection procedures for these entities.


General Information
Always contact your utility service provider first to ask about their bill payment assistance options. Below are the PUC-regulated electric and natural gas utilities for your convenience. 
  • Avista Utilities – 800-227-9187
  • Cascade Natural Gas – 888-522-1130
  • Idaho Power – 800-488-6151
  • NW Natural Gas – 800-422-4012
  • Pacific Power – 888-221-7070
  • PGE – 800-542-8818




 
 
Emergency Medical Certificate Program
If you qualify, this program may allow you or someone in your household who is under a doctor’s care the option of a more lenient utility bill payment plan. A qualified medical professional must submit the request on your behalf, indicating how the loss of electric or gas utilities would negatively impact the patient. Learn more about the Emergency Medical Certificate Program
 
Telephone
Oregon Lifeline reduces the monthly cost of phone or broadband service for qualifying low-income households.

​If you have a complaint about your utility service, please first try to resolve the issue with your service provider. Below is contact information for select utilities for your convenience. 

Natural gas customers, if your service needs to be restored , it's important to note that your service provider will need to enter your home to ensure this is done safely.
  • Avista Utilities – 800-227-9187
  • Cascade Natural Gas – 888-522-1130
  • CenturyLink – 800-244-1111
  • Frontier – 866-499-4271
  • Idaho Power – 800-488-6151
  • NW Natural Gas – 800-422-4012
  • Pacific Power – 888-221-7070
  • PGE – 800-542-8818
If you are a customer of a water association and have concerns about service quality, you may be eligible to submit a petition for the PUC to regulate your service provider. Learn more.

If unable to resolve the issue, please contact the PUC:
 
By Phone:
503-378-6600
800-522-2404
TTY users dial 711
 
By email:
puc.consumer@puc.oregon.gov​​​​​​
 
File online






​The Oregon Public Utility Commission (PUC) regulates a portion of the state’s 3,500 water systems. The PUC oversees some investor-owned water utilities, as well as select mobile home parks and associations providing water service. The PUC does not regulate any of the 1,100 municipalities and publicly-owned water systems that serve a majority of Oregonians.

All regulated water utilities must comply with PUC service rules and regulations, such as water quality, pressure, customer service, plant repair, and maintenance. The PUC investigates complaints to ensure customers are receiving safe and adequate water service.

A small number of these regulated water utilities must also comply with PUC rules governing rates to ensure residents are receiving service at just and reasonable rates.

Which water utilities are regulated?

Petition for Regulation
Water utility customers of associations or providers serving 500 customers or less can submit a petition for the PUC to regulate your service provider. Learn more.​ 


 
Telephone Service for Victims of Domestic Violence
The PUC established rules for CenturyLink (Lumen) and Frontier (Ziply Fiber) for those who have active restraining orders on file for domestic violence in order to keep local telephone service from being disconnected. If your local service is in jeopardy of disconnection due to nonpayment, you can contact your telephone company to see if this program is applicable to you. If you meet the qualifications, you will be allowed to set up payment arrangements on your local service only. Note: Service can still be disconnected if you do not keep the payment arrangement current, and this program does not apply to internet, long distance, or television services.
 
Utility Disconnection Information
Regulated utilities are allowed to disconnect service for nonpayment. They are required to provide notices to customers prior to disconnection. Service may NOT be disconnected for non-payment on the day before or on a weekend, or national holiday. Disconnection notice requirements are as follows: 
  • Electric and natural gas services – Require 15- and 5-day notices
  • Telephone service – Requires 5-business day notice
  • Water service – Requires 15- and 7-day notices
Regulated utilities (excluding phone) are required to offer time-payment arrangements, typically 12 months, for the past-due amount.​
Typically higher than normal energy bills are caused by one of the following:
  • Colder/hotter than normal weather: This typically requires additional heating and air conditioner usage.
  • Water heating: Colder weather affects the temperature of the water coming into your water heater, leading to higher energy usage to heat the water.
  • Home all day: Staying indoors during extreme temperatures leads to increased energy usage.
  • Extra days in billing period: At times due to severe weather, meter readers can be delayed. This can result in bills covering a longer period of time.
  • Estimated bills: In some areas, meters are unable to be read due to weather, so the utility is allowed to estimate those bills. The utility is required to clearly note this on your bill. Higher estimates than actual usage will be corrected once the meter is read.
  • Prior Arrears: If you did not pay your bill in full the prior month, there could be a carry-over amount on your current bill.

Learn more about energy saving tips from Energy Trust of Oregon.​

If your water bills are high:

You may be eligible to submit a petition for the PUC to regulate your water utility for service and/or rates. Learn more.


General Information
Smart meters allow electric utilities to accurately record customer usage, provide usage information, and provide a more reliable utility grid, which ultimately reduces costs for customers. The Oregon Public Utility Commission (PUC) reviews smart meter installations and costs as part of smart grid reports and general rate case proceedings.
 
Contact your electric utility service provider for more information. 
  • Idaho Power – 800-488-6151
  • Pacific Power – 888-221-7070
  • PGE – 800-542-8818

Pacific Power Smart Meter Transition

Pacific Power upgraded meters throughout its Oregon service territory. Installation of digital, broadcasting meters was approved by the PUC in late 2016, after Pacific Power demonstrated the upgrade would improve reliability and reduce costs for customers. The PUC has encouraged public and stakeholder involvement throughout the multi-year meter upgrade process.
 

Opt-out Option & Fee

The PUC approved an opt-out option for customers who wished to keep their manually read meters. To keep the cost of standard utility service fair and affordable for all customers, those that wanted choices beyond the standard service were asked to pay the costs they incur.
 
In response to customer concerns about the $36 opt-out fee, the PUC asked Pacific Power to consider opt-out options that required fewer manual reads. In March 2019, the Commission approved a decrease in the number of meter reads to three annually for smart meter opt-out customers who register for Pacific Power’s Equal Payment Plan.
 
In December 2019, the Commission reviewed Pacific Power’s filing to reduce the monthly meter reading fee for opt-out customers. The Commission approved the following:
 
  • Approved 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.
  • Declined 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.
  • Directed Pacific Power to submit a more developed proposal to the PUC to consider transitioning opt-out customers away from the triannual meter reading option.
    Pacific Power smart meter opt-out customers must register for Pacific Power's Equal Payment Plan to take advantage of the reduced rate. Call 888-221-7070 for details or for additional information.

The PUC’s public process & decision-making timeline

  • PUC Fact Sheet – smart meter decision-making timeline
  • UM 1667 Staff Report for December 6, 2016 Public Meeting – this report details cost estimates and the long-running Smart Grid process.
  • UE 322 Staff Report for March 7, 2017 Public Meeting – features PUC Staff recommendations and conditions for the project.
  • At the Nov. 6, 2018 Public Meeting - Pacific Power responded to questions the Commission had received from the public. Watch this meeting or view Pacific Power’s responses to frequently asked questions.

Questions or comments?
To share a public comment, ask further questions or address billing or other issues, contact the PUC’s Consumer Services Team by email ​or call 800-522-2404 or 503-378-6600.

 ​


For Electric and Natural Gas – Comment on a Proposed Rate Increase
File a comment on a proposed rate increase for electric or natural gas utilities.
 
For Water – Petition for Rate Reviews
If you received notice of a proposed rate increase from your water utility, you may submit a petition requesting the PUC review the proposed increase. If the Commission receives petitions from 20 percent of a utility’s customers, a rate case may be initiated.
 
For Telephone – Petition for Rate Reviews
If you received notice of a proposed rate increase from your telephone utility, excluding CenturyLink (Lumen) and Frontier (Ziply Fiber), you may submit a petition requesting the PUC review the proposed increase. If the Commission receives petitions from 10 percent of a utility’s customers, a rate case may be initiated.
 
 
If you have a utility emergency or urgent safety concern, call 911 and your utility service provider right away. If you have an outage, contact your utility directly. 
  • Avista Utilities – 800-227-9187
  • Cascade Natural Gas – 888-522-1130
  • Idaho Power - 208-388-2323 or 800-488-6151
  • NW Natural - 800-822-3377
  • Pacific Power - 877-508-5088
  • PGE – 503-464-7777 or 800-544-1795​
Natural gas customers -- if your service needs to be restored, please note that your service provider will need to enter your home to ensure service is safely restored.​

**Before an outage occurs, be sure you're prepared! Learn more.​

Before you dig, know what’s below! Before planting a tree, building a fence, or using an excavator, call 811 (or toll free 1-800-332-2344) to have all underground utilities marked.
 
If you have a complaint about 811 service, please submit your detailed complaint online. Please provide as much detail about the situation as possible, including photos, maps, and any other documentation to demonstrate what happened. You may also submit a complaint by calling 503-378-6600, 800-522-2404.​ Please note, do not call this number to schedule utility marking services.





Energy Trust of Oregon is a nonprofit organization dedicated to helping Oregon utility customers save energy and generate renewable power. You can evaluate your home for current energy use, learn about home upgrades or cash incentives, or learn about low-cost/no-cost tips to save energy and money. If you meet low-income eligibility requirements, you may qualify for free or reduced-cost weatherization.

 

The Citizens' Utility Board of Oregon energy and money saving tips is also available. 


As a utility service customer, you have certain rights and responsibilities. The utilities' main obligation is to provide you with reliable services at rates approved by the PUC. Your main obligation is to pay for the services you use, to not damage the company's facilities, and to notify the utility service provider if you move or wish to change your service. To receive notices in languages other than English, contact your service provider. To learn more about your rights and responsibilities, view the Oregon Administrative Rule 860-021-0010 (6).​​

 

smiling customer service representative 
 

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Submit Questions or Complaints
By Phone:
  • (503) 378-6600
  • (800) 522-2404
  • (TTY or dial 711)
* NOTE: During the COVID-19 situation, email may be the best way to reach our Consumer Services Team.

By Mail:
Oregon Public Utility Commission
Attn: Consumer Services
PO Box 1088
Salem, OR 97308-1088

In Person:
201 High Street SE, Suite 100, Salem, Oregon
 

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