Last Updated July 27, 2021
Public Benefits Fund
Oregon Department of Energy
Eligible Renewable/Other Technologies:
Oregon's 1999 electric-utility restructuring legislation (SB 1149) required Pacific Power and Portland General Electric (PGE) to collect a 3% public purpose charge from their customers to support renewable energy and energy efficiency projects. Large electric consumers may be eligible to direct a portion of their public purpose charge for conservation projects and renewable energy resources on qualified sites.
To qualify, consumers must use over one average megawatt or 8,760,000 kilowatt hours a year. The site must either be metered through a single meter or be contiguous (buildings within 1,000 feet of each other). The Oregon Department of Energy (ODOE) must certify the site eligibility for an initial application, and re-certify the site annually.
Large consumers may self-direct their public purpose charges for either conservation projects or renewable power purchases. ODOE will review conservation projects and certify their eligibility and costs before authorizing credits against the public purpose charge. If an audit verifies that the consumer has completed all cost-effective conservation measures, ODOE will grant a waiver of up to 54 percent of all public purpose charges owed. If an audit indicates conservation projects remain at the site, the consumer must pay public purpose charges equal to the estimated cost of the uncompleted project, then it may receive credits up to the 54 percent allowed. For renewable resource purchases, the consumer is eligible for credits against renewable electricity purchased at above market cost.
ODOE maintains an active website for large electricity consumers to apply to self-direct their public purpose charge, monitor monthly credits, and view related reports. See the program's administrative rules for more information.