General FAQ's

We have lots of helpful FAQs regarding the PUD.  Click on the categories on the left.  If you have any questions, please contact us.

Click on each question to link down to the answers.

1.  How do I report a power outage?
2.  Why did my power go out?
3.  What does Northern Wasco County PUD do when there is a power outage?
4.  What things should I check if my power goes out?
5.  How Does Northern Wasco County PUD Approach Dealing with a Power Outage?
6.  How Do I Request Power to an Unpowered Site?
7.  Is there a service charge for setting up a new account?
8.  What access to my property must I provide to PUD employees?
9.  Writing out your name on the check is much too long. Can’t we just write "PUD?"
10.  Where can I mail my PUD payment?
11.  Why does the PUD estimate customers’ electricity bills?
12.  High Bill Concerns
13.  Security Lighting?
14.  Can you make Payments over the phone or use your credit card or Debit Card?
15.  Can I pay my bill online?
16.  How can I speak with a customer service representative?
17.  What is a Demand Meter?
18.  What is a PUD?
19.  Is there a deposit requirement for new residential customers?
20.  Is it against the law to attach signs on utility poles?
21.  Why is my neighbor’s electric bill lower than mine?
22.  How can I pinpoint where I am using my power?
23.  How likely is it that the issue with my bill is related to a faulty meter?
24.  My bill is much lower than usual, could this be a metering problem?
25.  What Affects Your Bill?

Answers


1. How do I report a power outage?

Call Northern Wasco County PUD 296-2226 to report the location and circumstances of an outage. During large outages the line may be busy due to the large volume of callers. Please continue to call until you get through


2. Why did my power go out?

Power outages are most commonly caused by bad weather, trees contacting electric lines or equipment, motor vehicle accidents affecting electric equipment or facilities, equipment failure, or damage done by animals. Also. Faulty wiring and equipment within your building can cause a localized power outage.


3. What does Northern Wasco County PUD do when there is a power outage?

Once Northern Wasco County PUD is aware of the outage, a Northern Wasco County PUD employee is immediately sent to patrol the outage area and identify the problem. The employee takes action to isolate the problem and restore power to as many customers as possible. Depending on the problem, a crew may have to be called to work on repairs. Outage lengths vary, depending on the severity of the problem. Turn on your porch light so that our crews can easily see when power has been restored.


4. What things should I check if my power goes out?

Investigate your home or business to determine if any electrical hazards are present. If there are, notify Northern Wasco County PUD. If you see, hear or smell any signs of an electrical flash or fire, call 911.

Look to see if your neighbors are also without power. Street lights may be the best indication of this. Check your fuse box or service panel to determine if the problem is internal. If you receive service from an overhead line, look to see if the service wire has become damaged or pulled away from the building. Be extremely cautious if you see low hanging wires or wires on the ground. Never approach any wires or touch any surface, tree or object which is in contact with wires. If your lights dim or flicker, immediately turn off your electronic equipment (TV, computer, etc.) and wait until the power is stable to turn them back on.


5. How Does Northern Wasco County PUD Approach Dealing with a Power Outage?

When a major power outage occurs, restoring electric service is often a complicated process. Damage to the utility's electric distribution system that is caused by wind, ice, lighting, trees or other severe weather conditions usually is not isolated to one specific area. It usually affects several different locations.

Under these conditions, Northern Wasco County PUD primary objective is to get the power back on for everyone in the most systematic, efficient and safe manner. That's why we use the TSDS system:
(T) Transmission lines,
(S) Substations
(D) Distribution Lines
(S) Service Lines.
When a wide-spread power outage occurs, the first location that service crews check is the substation. The substation is the source from which all power is distributed. Service crews then start working their way out along the main distribution lines, or "feeders." These main feeders are repaired first, followed by the lines serving groups of homes, and finally repairs at individual homes are made.


6. How Do I Request Power to an Unpowered Site?

If you want to have power brought to a piece of property within the PUD service area, the first step would be to contact the Engineering Department at Northern Wasco County PUD, 2345 River Road, The Dalles, Or 541-296-2226. They will need the address of the property or adjoining property if an address has not yet been assigned by the City of The Dalles or Wasco County Planning Departments. PUD’s Engineering Department will locate the site on their maps to determine how best to provide power to the site. An account will also need to be established at this time. Account information will need to be provided - who will be responsible for the power bills, type of service(residential or commercial), and other billing information. The Engineering Department will set up a time to meet with the customer at the site to discuss where service will be located for the new residence or business. At this time, temporary power and easement requirements and cost estimates will also be discussed. Before the PUD can begin work to bring power to the site, the customer needs to acquire the proper electrical permits. If you have questions regarding electrical power needs or requirements, please contact our Engineering Department 836-2226 They will be glad to help you through the process.


7. Is there a service charge for setting up a new account?

Yes, it is $15.00


8. What access to my property must I provide to PUD employees?

By law, if the PUD provides electric service to you, the utility then has the right to enter your property to read and/or maintain its metering equipment without your permission. You are responsible for providing clear unobstructed access to PUD equipment for the installation, maintenance and removal of its property.


9. Writing out your name on the check is much too long. Can’t we just write "PUD?"

Sure you can. While the official name of the utility is Northern Wasco County PUD, the bank will accept checks that simply say “PUD” or “NWC PUD.”


10. Where can I mail my PUD payment?

Please send PUD bill payments to: Northern Wasco County PUD 2345 River Road The Dalles, Or 97058 It’s important that we get the bill stub with your payment because it helps make sure that your payment is credited to your account. We receive many payments every day. When we receive a payment without the bill stub, it becomes difficult to match the payment to the proper account, which increases the chance that a mistake could be made in crediting your account.


11. Why does the PUD estimate customers’ electricity bills?

At times when hazardous conditions exist, such as periods of heavy snow and/or ice storms, the PUD may not be able to safely access customers’ meters. There also are other unusual circumstances that may prevent a meter reading. These are generally infrequent and affect a small number of customers scheduled for readings. In other cases, such as highly inaccessible yards (with gates or other barriers) and/or dogs that don’t permit entry, it also may be difficult to read a customer’s meter. In such cases, the billing department will pursue other access arrangements for future readings. If the utility can’t access the meter it must estimate a customer’s electricity usage. The PUD’s billing system calculates the customer’s estimated electricity consumption based on the usage during the same period of the previous year. Once the PUD gains access to the customer’s meter the actual meter reading will be evaluated for an adjustment to the customer’s bill if necessary to either credit their account for any previous high bill estimates or add charges for previous low bill estimates.


12. High Bill Concerns

A sudden increase in you electric bill may indicate a repair problem with an appliance, heating system or water heater.


13. Security Lighting?

Security lighting offers customers an opportunity to illuminate important areas of their property for safety or security reasons. If you are interested in Security Lighting, the PUD will install and maintain the Security Light for a monthly fee. The PUD will meet with you on your property and discuss the options available to you. If you decide to have the PUD install a light we require you to sign a contract stating that you agree to pay the rental fee for a minimum of three years. After the three-year period we will continue to bill you until the security light has been removed. Contact Northern Wasco County PUD's Engineering Department at 541-296-2226 for more information. For rate information, please refer to Rate Schedule: Street and Miscellaneous Lights- Schedule 600


14. Can you make Payments over the phone or use your credit card or Debit Card?

We currently do not offer these options.


15. Can I pay my bill online?

We currently do not offer the option of paying your PUD online at our website.


16. How can I speak with a customer service representative?

Call 541-296-2226 during regular business hours 8 am to 5 pm Monday thru Friday.


17. What is a Demand Meter?

Demand meters are a special type of meter typically found on larger commercial buildings and industrial facilities. The term “Demand” refers to the peak power requirement for a given time interval. Billing demand is the average kilowatts delivered during the 30 minute period in which the use of energy is the greatest during the month for which the determination is made. Each time the meter reader comes out to read the meter they reset the demand register for the next month. Demand meters, therefore, measure both energy consumption (kWh) and peak power usage or demand (kw).


18. What is a PUD?

  • A People's Utility District, or PUD, is a body of local government that provides essential utility services within a specified area.
  • PUDs are granted authority by the Oregon Constitution, Article XI, Section 12, and further defined by Oregon Revised Statute (ORS) 261.
  • PUDs are formed by a vote of the people who live within the District, and are directed, managed and operated locally.
  • PUDs may generate some or all of the electricity they sell, or purchase it from other sources


19. Is there a deposit requirement for new residential customers?

Yes. New customers will be assessed a security deposit that is based on an amount equal to the highest monthly bill at the premises within the preceding 12 months, or if the property has been vacant, the period when the premises was last occupied, or the minimum as listed in Rate Schedule 700, whichever is greater. To avoid a security deposit, a customer may provide the District with a “Letter of Credit” from another electric or gas utility expressing satisfactory credit history. “Satisfactory Credit History” means that the applicant was on line for the preceding 12 consecutive months or more with the former utility, has no past due balance and has had no more than 2 collection points within the preceding 12 months;


20. Is it against the law to attach signs on utility poles?

It is against the law for any private signs to be placed on, painted on or affixed to any utility pole. The city of The Dalles Sign Ordinance No. 92-1153 prohibits the posting of unauthorized signs on utility poles, sign poles or public property. These signs include yard/garage sale notices. These objects on poles can pose a safety hazard to utility workers. Those who put objects on poles can be held liable for any damage or injury that might result. Any person that violates any of the provisions of Sign Ordinance, upon conviction thereof shall be punished by a fine of not more than $200.00 or by imprisonment for not more than 30 days, or both such fine and imprisonment. Each calendar day that a sign is in violation of this ordinance shall constitute a separate violation. So, please cooperate in not contributing to this safety problem.


21. Why is my neighbor’s electric bill lower than mine?

Even if your home may appear identical to your neighbors, houses often vary in terms of insulation values, heating and cooling needs, the condition of the home and appliances, insulation levels and the temperature settings of the heat and water heater. Your bill reflects the amount of electricity you use and represent the unique needs of your family.


22. How can I pinpoint where I am using my power?

Unexplained usage in the home may be due to a faulty appliance. Determining which appliance is the culprit can be accomplished if breakers in the circuit breaker box are labeled. Begin by turning off all the breakers except for the main. The meter should not spin because individual appliances are off at the power source. Turn one breaker on and check the meter to see if the meter disc is spinning. Repeat this process for each circuit. Note that you may notice a spin on the meter if the appliance associated with the circuit you have just turned on has cycled on. Water heaters, refrigerators and freezers cycle on and off throughout the day. The goal of this exercise is to determine which breaker and associated appliance is continuing to use power beyond normal daily operation. The meter will spin faster for appliances/areas of the house that use more electricity.


23. How likely is it that the issue with my bill is related to a faulty meter?

It is very unlikely that the problem that you are experiencing is a problem with your meter. The chance of a five-dial meter failing is less than one percent, and it is more likely to slow down than to speed up. It is very rare for a meter to register more usage than what is actually being used. Meters can sometimes stop, however. If you know that you are using power and your statement shows no kilowatt hour usage for the period, your meter may be stopped. Remember that unbilled usage will not go away. If your meter is stopped, we may estimate past months’ billing. To ensure accurate billing, please let us know as soon as you are aware that you have a stopped meter.


24. My bill is much lower than usual, could this be a metering problem?

If you know that you are using power and your statement shows no kilowatt hour usage for the period, your meter may be stopped. Please call us to report a stopped meter. Remember that unbilled usage will not go away. If your meter is stopped, we may estimate past months’ billing. To ensure accurate billing, please let us know as soon as you are aware that you have a stopped meter.


25. What Affects Your Bill?

Have you ever wondered why your energy costs are different month-to-month? Changes in the weather, lifestyle and home conditions all play a part. Here are some common reasons your bill may be different from one month to the next:

Weather conditions

  • Above-average summer heat
  • Below-average winter cold
Changes at home
  • A new family member or house guest
  • Installing additional appliances
  • A change in work schedule or habits

Weatherization
  • Inadequate insulation in ceiling, floors and walls
  • Leaks in heating ducts and/or lack of duct insulation
  • Inadequate weather-stripping and caulking around doors and windows
  • Uninsulated windows and doors
  • Open fireplace dampers

Electric space heating
  • Leaving doors of unused rooms open
  • Using electric space heaters
  • Heating systems requiring repairs
  • Dirty furnace air filters that should be changed

Electric water heating
  • Faucet or water heater leaks
  • Water heater setting above 120

Refrigeration
  • Doors that don’t seal properly
  • Dirty refrigerator coils

Other areas
  • Operating an air conditioner
  • Heating and operating swimming pools, hot tubs or spas
  • Using large power tools



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