PORTLAND, Ore. — As part of a statewide metering upgrade designed to improve service to customers through shorter outages and hour-by-hour energy usage information, Pacific Power is providing an additional offering for customers who wish to opt out. As part of a final filing to the Public Utility Commission (PUC) of Oregon on Monday, March 11, Pacific Power will now offer a commission-approved Equal Payment Plan Opt-out option to help reduce monthly fees starting March 13.
“We’ve heard from customers that the fee to opt out of a smart meter is burdensome, and we have continued to look for new options,” said Pacific Power Vice President of Regulation, Etta Lockey. “This has been a collaborative process with the PUC and the Citizens’ Utility Board, and we are pleased to offer this new option to customers.”
Smart meters wirelessly deliver hour-by-hour energy usage information to customers via their online account, eliminating the need to wait for a manual meter read and a monthly bill. While only around one percent of customers are opting out of the meter upgrade, choosing to do so adds a cost to continue manual meter reads.
The Equal Payment Option reduces opt-out fees for customers from the current $36 a month to $9 a month, by reducing the number of manual reads to three times per year ($36 per reading, spread across 12 months). It also allows customers to pay a level or equal monthly amount based on a historical average of their previous bills.
The standard opt-out plan will continue to be available as well and provides monthly manual $36 meter reads and bills based on monthly usage.
Customers must select the new option by calling 1-866-869-8520. All residential customers with non-standard meters are eligible to participate. Residential customers with net meters, time of use meters or demand registers would not qualify because it is necessary for the company to obtain routine meter reads to bill customers under those circumstances accurately.
Pacific Power’s upgrade of 590,000 meters began in January 2018 and continues through 2019. Installs are already complete for more than two-thirds of Pacific Power customers in Oregon. An opt-out option was made available during the upgrade to customers who choose to opt-out. In August, Pacific Power removed a $137 fee covering a future replacement of a non-communicative meter with a smart meter to help address the upfront financial impact of the program. This new Equal Payment Plan Opt-out option is part of Pacific Power’s continued review of opt-out fees, to ensure costs are fair for all customers.
Additional information on smart meters, including installation updates, are available at www.pacificpower.net/smartmeter. Customers can also call 866-869-8520 for help with any questions.