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Customers push back on EPUD rate increases

Some customers have seen their bill increase by hundreds of dollars, and they think EPUD should change their policies.

Posted: Jan. 30, 2018 5:49 PM
Updated: Feb. 1, 2018 5:40 PM

LANE COUNTY, Ore. -- Some EPUD customers are pushing back after they saw their electric bill increase by hundreds of dollars. 

Customers voiced their frustrations on the Facebook page EPUD Customers Organized. The page was started three days ago, and already there are about 400 people in the group. Customers said Emerald People's Utility District's tiered system is unfair. 

Lenord Hays, the organizer of the group, said the price hikes are taking a toll on families, making it difficult for some to get by. 

"We're talking about people who are buying their homes, they have families, they can't afford this," Lenord Hays said. "They can't afford it."

The tiered system was implemented in April 2017, but customers didn't see major changes in their bill until last month. Hays said he was told by EPUD the policy was changed to conserve energy.

However, Hays said if that was the case, customers should still be paying a flat rate. Hays said customers are asking EPUD to remove the tiered system. Hays said they met with EPUD but the meeting wasn't productive. 

EPUD sent out a letter and apologized to customers for not preparing them for the tiered rate structure. The general manager said all the phone calls, emails, and public statements helped them realize they didn't prepare people for the impact.

In the letter, Scott Coe, the general manager, said they will waive all late fees for December and January bills. They said customers must contact them to be enrolled in their Equal Pay program retroactively so their December and January balances will be lower. 

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