Pacific Power will lower the fee for customers who opt out of installing new smart power meters.

The utility had planned on charging $36 a month for monthly meter reads for customers who opt out of the new meters, which automatically transmit power usage data to the utility.

Pacific Power submitted an alternative payment plan, recently approved by the state Public Utility Commission, to charge $9 a month with only three meter reads per year.

The new payment plan also allows customers to pay a level or equal monthly amount based on a historical average of their previous bills. The utility has also removed a fee for customers who later decide to have a smart meter installed.

“We’ve heard from customers that the fee to opt out of a smart meter is burdensome, and we have continued to look for new options,” Etta Lockey, Pacific Power’s vice president of regulation, said in a news release. “This has been a collaborative process with the PUC and the Citizens’ Utility Board, and we are pleased to offer this new option to customers.”

Pacific Power’s upgrade of 590,000 meters began in January 2018 and continues into the spring. Installation is already complete for more than two-thirds of customers in Oregon, and only around 1 percent of customers have chosen to opt out of the new smart meters, according to the utility.

Customers must select the new opt-out plan by calling 1-866-869-8520. All residential customers with nonstandard meters are eligible to participate. Residential customers with net meters, time of use meters or demand registers do not qualify.

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