Pacific Power customers angry over jump in bills

Utility says cold winter largely to blame

Some angry at power bill increase

BEND, Ore. - Life-long Redmond resident Robin Eby said she was shocked when she opened her last Pacific Power bill.

“I’ve been through many harsh winters in this home, and this is the highest bill I have ever received,” she said Thursday.

Eby said her bill was $100 higher than usual.

Tom Gauntt, a spokesman for Pacific Power, said there are several reasons why bills could have increased, but the main one has been the extreme winter weather. 

"Because of the weather. In some cases, we haven't been able to get the meter readers out to read a meter. So, if they were delayed several days, that shifts a series of days from one billing cycle to the next,” he said.

Gauntt said when Pacific Power has to shift days to other billing cycles, it can have a big impact.

"If it's so bad the meter reader can't get out, then it's probably some of the worst days you're having,” Gauntt said, “So, it's probably some of the days you are stuck in your house with the schools closed. Those four or five days that got shifted might be some of the heaviest usage days of all time for you.”

He also said electric heating devices such as space heaters can use a lot of energy.

Gauntt claimed higher usage, not a price increase, is to blame, and even though the rate has increased by half a percent since January, that would not be enough to double anyone’s bill.

Gauntt said there are people available to help answer any billing questions by calling (888) 221-7070.

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