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Josephine County Plans to Move Ahead on Smart Meter Ordinance

Despite threats of legal action from the Oregon Public Utility Commission, the County says that they plan to move forward with the ordinance due to 'public outcry and hours of public testimony.'

Posted: Nov 9, 2018 2:27 PM
Updated: Nov 9, 2018 4:00 PM

GRANTS PASS, Ore. — Josephine County has every intention of moving forward with a new ordinance aimed at mitigating opt-out fees for Pacific Power's smart meters, according to a statement released on Friday.

Just days ago, the Oregon Public Utility Commission (PUC) threatened to take "appropriate legal action" against the county if they persisted with the ordinance.

“The PUC is again taking the side of Pacific Power and not our citizens,” said Commissioner Simon Hare. “We are more than willing to listen and work with the PUC. We remain dedicated to ensuring that Josephine County citizens have the right to consumer choice, even when dealing with utility providers.”

The Board of Josephine County Commissioners said that they adopted the ordinance to "protect citizens of Josephine County from arbitrary and excessive charges by providing consumer choice."

Nevertheless, Pacific Power customers are indeed presented with a choice — they may accept smart meter installation and see their rates stay relatively flat (public opinion has varied widely on whether customers have seen their usage rates rise, fall, or remain unchanged following installation), or persist in keeping the old, hand-read meters and pay a monthly fee. That fee is currently set at $36.

Smart meters have already been rolled out and installed throughout Oregon.

The County says that their "carefully crafted" ordinance goes into effect on January 29 of 2019. However, they also say that "consumers will be required to pay all portions of their electricity bills unless otherwise notified by PacifiCorp."

As that date looms and Pacific Power attempts to finish their installation of the new devices, disagreement over the ordinance between Josephine County and the PUC seems destined for litigation.

“It is unfortunate that, after the county acted to protect citizens from suffering economic hardship, the Public Utility Commission is apparently choosing to respond by suing the county,” said Wally Hicks, Josephine County legal counsel.

The Portland Business Journal reports that Portland General Electric (PGE) rolled out smart meters for their customers several years ago, receiving relatively little pushback at the time. It also costs more to opt-out for PGE customers — $45 per month compared to Pacific Power's $36.

Pacific Power has said that Josephine County is alone in adopting an ordinance flouting smart meter installation.

Oregon Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 219755

Reported Deaths: 2858
CountyCasesDeaths
Multnomah41855618
Washington27838258
Marion24509333
Clackamas19964242
Lane14885174
Jackson12709156
Deschutes1056587
Umatilla958794
Linn627782
Yamhill507481
Klamath494479
Douglas451888
Polk431457
Josephine416975
Malheur366667
Benton347422
Jefferson249942
Coos231939
Columbia208732
Union169424
Wasco156131
Lincoln154422
Crook139924
Hood River126734
Morrow122917
Clatsop117610
Baker111517
Curry79112
Tillamook7605
Grant5637
Lake4868
Harney46011
Wallowa2396
Gilliam871
Sherman872
Wheeler441
Unassigned00

California Coronavirus Cases

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Cases: 3966943

Reported Deaths: 64429
CountyCasesDeaths
Los Angeles130334324691
Riverside3085464662
San Bernardino3067695240
San Diego2980023798
Orange2824265144
Santa Clara1234042099
Sacramento1157321781
Kern1132161425
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Alameda971211286
Ventura838691044
Contra Costa77708834
San Joaquin769151460
Stanislaus658931095
Tulare50409854
San Mateo44622588
Monterey44523528
San Francisco40544563
Solano36004263
Santa Barbara35741467
Merced33321485
Sonoma32880330
Imperial29164745
Placer25146307
Kings23765251
San Luis Obispo21970265
Madera17058249
Santa Cruz16616207
Marin14958239
Yolo14863215
Butte13235205
Shasta13043242
El Dorado11125120
Napa1044282
Sutter10203127
Yuba700450
San Benito628263
Tehama589266
Lassen588826
Nevada541675
Humboldt511453
Mendocino471052
Tuolumne453573
Lake423866
Amador387748
Siskiyou256640
Glenn246527
Colusa235718
Calaveras231658
Del Norte16688
Inyo147338
Mono13265
Plumas7726
Modoc5767
Mariposa5007
Trinity4676
Sierra1310
Alpine890
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