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Utility disconnections hit all time high in April for Oregon

PORTLAND, Ore. — There was a record number of natural gas and electricity disconnections in Oregon, in April.

Bob Jenks from the Oregon Citizens’ Utility Board (CUB) said more than 8,700 households in Oregon were disconnected due to non-payment of bills in that month alone.

Jenks said this is due to higher rates, increased household costs, and abnormally cold weather in January.

The Oregon CUB is now advocating for caps on how much utilities can raise energy bills, and changes to the approval process when it comes to for-profit utility rates.

“We have to get our state leaders and that is the PUC,” said Jenks. “If the PUC won’t do it, we need to go to the legislature and say ‘we’ve got to put some sort of a cap on the amount our utilities can keep increasing our bills every year because this is not sustainable.'”

Jenks said customers are unable to keep up with these rising utility rates, and there is no reason to believe next winter will be any easier.

For low-income households, help may be available. In Jackson County for example, ACCESS helps people with energy assistance.

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Sean Walters earned his Bachelor of Science degree in Emerging Media and Digital Arts from Southern Oregon University. As a result of an accelerated academic program, he graduated in just three years. He was born in Antioch, California, then grew up in Southern Oregon. Sean loves to travel, play guitar and study filmmaking and photography.
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