EPUD apologizes for high winter bills

In April of 2017, the Emerald People’s Utility District (EPUD) created a new tiered rate system. In December, customers saw power bills increase, in some cases, by hundreds of dollars.

EPUD apologized. 

“Over the past month, many of you have voiced concerns about high electric bills and the tiered rate structure that was implemented in April 2017,” General Manager Scott Coe wrote. “Your phone calls, emails and public statements helped us realize we did not adequately prepare you for the impact this structure could have on bills during winter months. We also did not clearly communicate why we felt this was the right thing to do.”

The statement, released last Tuesday promised to waive all late fees related to December and/or January bills, replace those bills with a lower balance by enrolling customers in the company’s Equal Pay program and offer an extended payment arrangement for residents who would rather pay the billed amount.

Going forward, customers who use more power will pay more under the three-tiered system, which according to EPUD, will remain in place. 

Customers who use between one and 600 kWh will pay .0696 per kWh, a one-cent reduction. Those who use between 601 and 1,800 kWh will remain at the current rate of .0796 per kWh and those who exceed 1,801 kWh will pay .1089. 

“EPUD customers now demand over 10 percent more power than they did in 2015,” a statement from EPUD concerning the rate increase read. The company also cited the expiration of a power contract in 10 years, the financial uncertainty of investing in power plant infrastructure and limits placed on how much power public utilities can purchase from Bonneville Power Administration for increasing rates. 

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