The Oregon Public Utilities Commission (PUC) on Friday announced it had approved a program giving discounts to some residential Cascade Natural Gas customers, based on their income.
The discounts are at four levels ranging from 15% to 95%. Customers must be at or below 60% of the state’s median income level to qualify.
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The following is a press release from Oregon PUC with more details and the breakdown of each discount group.
SALEM, Ore. – The Oregon Public Utility Commission (PUC) approved Cascade Natural Gas Corporation’s program to offer income-qualifying residential customers an ongoing discount to their monthly bills. To qualify, customers must be at or below 60 percent of the state median income (SMI) level.
House Bill 2475, passed during Oregon’s 2021 Legislative Session, gave the PUC authority to consider the financial burden of energy costs when making decisions about rates, bill credits, and program discounts for customers of investor-owned electric and natural gas utilities. This bill, known as the Energy Affordability Act, allows the PUC to consider equity in the ratemaking process to make energy more affordable for all Oregonians.
“Historically, income was not considered in energy rates,” said Megan Decker, PUC Chair. ”This program will help provide relief to families who typically pay a higher percentage of their income to cover the cost of necessary utility services. We appreciate the collaboration among Cascade Natural Gas, many organizations representing customers, and PUC Staff to deliver a strong program and significant discount.”
The monthly bill discounts are calculated as a percentage of the bill and are offered at four levels based on total household income when compared to the SMI level. View the current Oregon SMI energy assistance eligibility matrix to determine eligible discount level.
Total Household Income
Percentage of Bill Discount
|At or below 15% of SMI||95% discount|
|16 – 30% of SMI||70% discount|
|31 – 45% of SMI||45% discount|
|46 – 60% of SMI||15% discount|
To participate, Cascade Natural Gas customers may be automatically enrolled due to their history of receiving energy assistance. Individuals wishing to apply or to confirm their automatic enrollment may contact their local Community Action Agency or Cascade Natural Gas at cngc.com/customer-service/low-income-assistance-programs/ or call 888-522-1130 to enroll starting October 1, 2022. At the time of enrollment, the customer will be asked to declare their household size and qualifying income in order to be placed in the appropriate discount tier.
The costs of providing this discount program are to be paid by Cascade Natural Gas customers through a fixed charge of $0.81 on monthly bills for residential customers and a charge based on usage for non-residential customers starting October 1, 2022.
In addition to the income-qualified bill discount program, Cascade Natural Gas customers behind in payments or struggling to pay monthly utility bills may also qualify for the Oregon Low-Income Bill Assistance (OLIBA) short-term assistance program to help get utility payments up to date and avoid disconnection. Customers are encouraged to contact Cascade Natural Gas for additional information.