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New report shows Eastern Oregon customers saved $7.2 million with Energy Trust

Oregonians have saved $3.2 billion through clean energy upgrades since 2002, including local utility customers Boise Cascade Kinzua Lumber and Wallowa area ranch owners Vern and Marti Spaur

Pendleton, Ore. — June 21, 2018 — Energy Trust of Oregon announced today its 2017 annual results, including cutting $3.2 billion from participating customers’ utility bills since 2002. In 2017, the nonprofit organization saved more electricity than ever before, maintained record natural gas savings and supported the installation of a record 1,800 solar systems—at even lower costs than the year before.

With cash incentives, information and a network of 2,300 contractors and allied professionals, Energy Trust helped homeowners, renters, businesses, manufacturers, farmers and ranchers at more than 56,500 locations across the state cut costs with affordable, energy-saving installations in 2017.

“Energy Trust helped Eastern Oregon customers save $7.2 million on utility bills in 2017,” said Michael Colgrove, executive director, Energy Trust. “When people spend less on energy, they can spend more on their families, homes and businesses, freeing up resources that flow into communities, creating jobs and boosting wages.”

Energy Trust works closely with utilities to ensure customers have access to clean energy programs. Energy Trust programs are available to 1.6 million utility customers of Portland General Electric, Pacific Power, NW Natural, Cascade Natural Gas and Avista. In 2017, the organization exceeded all performance measures set by the Oregon Public Utility Commission, including maintaining low administrative and program support costs to ensure funds flow directly to customers.

600 Eastern Oregon residents, businesses made smart energy choices in 2017

In 2017, Energy Trust provided $2.3 million in incentives to help Eastern Oregon customers of Pacific Power, NW Natural and Avista invest in energy-efficient and renewable energy upgrades at 600 homes and businesses.

A customer of Pacific Power and Cascade Natural Gas, Boise Cascade Kinzua Lumber has worked with Energy Trust, the sawmill slashed 4.7 million kilowatt hours from its annual electricity use. “We’ve cut energy costs by about $10,000 a month, which keeps us viable in a region where many sawmills have closed,” said Dave Minkler, maintenance supervisor. “We’re a big employer in the local economy. The more we save on utility bills, the better. Energy savings help keep us resilient.”

Wallowa area ranch owners Vern and Marti Spaur installed two micro-hydropower turbines to generate 157,000 kilowatt hours a year using irrigation water and gravity—enough to meet all their power needs. Their project came about after the Spaurs tapped into Energy Trust’s Irrigation Modernization offering, which helps irrigation districts and farmers find funding and resources to create state-of-the-art irrigation systems that save water, reduce energy use and leave more water in-stream for fish and wildlife. For their project, the Spaurs converted an open irrigation ditch into pressurized pipe and installed the turbines, which generate power from the excess pressure. This modernized irrigation system results in less evaporation, reserving more water for irrigation.

“People come from all over to see our hydropower system,” said Vern Spaur. “I’m proud to show it off.”

Other Eastern Oregon customers benefitting from energy-efficient and renewable energy upgrades include the City of Wallowa Wastewater Treatment Plant, Pendleton School District, Smith Frozen Foods in Weston and the Four Rivers Cultural Center in Ontario.

See detailed 2017 results and more customer stories at

As an independent nonprofit organization, Energy Trust helps meet Oregon’s energy needs with the cheapest and cleanest options available. Energy Trust has spurred $6.3 billion in local economic activity since 2002. On-the-ground outreach, technical services, cash-back incentives and connections to local contractors help participants cut costs with affordable, clean energy solutions. Energy Trust also helps customers power their homes and businesses with renewable energy from solar, hydropower, biopower, geothermal and wind sources. Learn more at


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