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Hundreds in Malheur County behind on utility bills but new help arrives

An Idaho Power substation in Ontario. (The Enterprise/Joe Siess)

ONTARIO– Malheur County customers won’t see their utilities shut off in coming weeks as the utilities and state regulators roll out new programs to help with past-due bills.

The Oregon Public Utility Commission has approved plans by regulated utilities to help their customers catch up on bills piling up because of the pandemic.

In Malheur County, Idaho Power last month reported nearly 1,400 customers had unpaid bills for electricity. The average customer in Oregon owed $346. And Cascade Natural Gas reported 611 customers in Malheur County were past-due by an average of $185.

The utilities each launched programs to help customers clear up those debts. State regulators also extended until June 30 the moratorium on shutting off service because of unpaid bills.

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