April 17, 2015—The Oregon House of Representatives voted unanimously last Friday to pass HB 3257. The bill proposes to continue the Oregon Energy Assistance Program (OEAP) for two more years, until January 2018. OEAP was originally supposed to sunset in January 2016.
The OEAP is a program that collects funds, around $5 million annually, from electric companies to supplement Oregon's LIHEAP funds. These moneys come from fees added to customers' utility bills each month. According to the program's factsheet, the current rate is $0.50 per meter for residential customers and not more than $500 for commercial and industrial customers. These OEAP funds are then administered through community action agencies throughout the state.
According to HB 3257's sponsor, Rep. Ken Helm, families without energy assistance in the state of Oregon who are already struggling will be further left out in the cold if HB 3257 does not pass. The bill now heads to the Senate.
Sources: Press Release, Oregon Energy Assistance Program (OEAP) Website, Media Source