Who We Are

Delivering energy and cost savings for Oregonians

Energy Trust of Oregon cash incentives, information and services help customers of Portland General Electric, Pacific Power, NW Natural and Cascade Natural Gas manage energy costs, increase comfort at home, improve productivity in the workplace and protect the environment.

We help homeowners, renters, multifamily property owners, farmers, ranchers, businesses of all sizes and types, school districts, cities and counties use less energy, both now and for years down the road:

  • Immediate savings: Since 2002, utility customers participating in our programs have saved more than $1.3 billion on their energy bills.
  • Long-term savings: Energy Trust energy-efficiency investments will save customers $1.58 billion in investments that their utilities do not have to make for fuel, storage, transportation and generation of more expensive energy.

The benefits are far reaching.

Our work helps keep energy costs as low as possible. Utilities rely on Energy Trust savings from efficiency to meet future energy needs for their customers at a far less cost than building new fossil fuel power plants.

Energy Trust also delivers significant economic and environmental benefits. Independent economic analysis shows that since 2002, Energy Trust has cumulatively added $2.7 billion to the local economy, including $793 million in wages, $155 million in small business income and 2,200 full-time jobs lasting a decade.* Our network of more than 2,700 trade ally contractors and allied professionals contributes to local economies across the state.

Since 2002, Energy Trust has helped Oregonians avoid emitting nearly 8.4 million tons of carbon dioxide emissions—the equivalent of removing 1.5 million cars from our roads for one year.

Our purpose

To provide comprehensive, sustainable energy efficiency, conservation and renewable energy solutions to those we serve.

Our vision

A high quality of life, a vibrant economy and a healthy environment and climate for generations to come, built with renewable energy, efficient energy use and conservation.

Our goals

As part of its oversight of Energy Trust, the Oregon Public Utility Commission has adopted annual performance measures against which to benchmark Energy Trust's performance in 2014.

  • Electric efficiency. Save at least 32 average megawatts of electricity annually at a levelized cost of no more than 3.2 cents per kilowatt hour for Portland General Electric. Save at least 17.1 aMW of electricity annually at a levelized cost of no more than 3.7 cents per kilowatt hour for Pacific Power.
  • Gas efficiency. Save at least 4.53 million therms of natural gas annually at a levelized cost of no more than 45.3 cents per therm for NW Natural. Save at least 400,000 therms of natural gas annually at a levelized cost of no more than 52 cents per therm for Cascade Natural Gas.
  • Renewable resource development. Report annually on project and market development assistance provided, including the number of projects supported, milestones met and documentation of results from a market and technology perspective. Obtain at least 0.7 aMW in installed generation of net-metered standard projects, including solar and small wind. For non-solar custom projects, the three-year rolling average project incentive is not to exceed $29/allocated megawatt hour. Report sources of funding and the selection criteria for innovative and custom solar projects.
  • Financial integrity. Earn an unqualified audit opinion, which may be termed “unmodified” by the financial industry.
  • Program delivery efficiency. Keep administrative and program support costs below 9 percent of annual revenues.
  • Customer satisfaction. Achieve at least 85 percent satisfaction rates for customers’ interactions with program representatives and overall satisfaction, as measured by surveys.
  • Benefit/cost ratios. Report the benefit/cost ratio for conservation programs based on the utility system perspective and societal perspective; report any significant mid-year changes in benefit/cost performance in quarterly reports.

View Energy Trust's performance against the 2012 OPUC performance measures on pages 25 and 26 of the 2012 Annual Report to the Oregon Public Utility Commission.

In addition, Energy Trust reports progress to annual goals and five-year Strategic Plan goals. View our policy and reports page to see these public plans and corresponding reports.

Our history

In 1999, Oregon lawmakers and citizens envisioned a future with Oregon homes and businesses powered by clean, affordable energy. They established stable, consistent funding to help Oregonians invest in energy efficiency and renewable resources. A new nonprofit organization—Energy Trust of Oregon—was created to lead the way.

Energy Trust began operation in March 2002, charged by the OPUC with investing in cost-effective energy efficiency, helping to pay the above-market costs of renewable energy resources, delivering services with low administrative and program support costs and maintaining high levels of customer satisfaction.

Since then, Energy Trust has helped Oregon build a solid foundation for its clean energy future and Oregonians are realizing the associated economic and environmental benefits.

In 2009, Energy Trust began delivering energy-efficiency services and incentives to NW Natural's residential and business customers in southwest Washington.

Our funding

Through state legislation, tariffs and other requirements, Energy Trust is funded by customers of Portland General Electric, Pacific Power, NW Natural and Cascade Natural Gas. Customers of all four utilities pay a dedicated percentage of their utility bills to support a variety of energy-efficiency and renewable energy services and programs.

As a result of a 1999 energy restructuring law, Oregon's two largest electric investor-owned utilities (PGE and Pacific Power) are required to collect a three percent “public purpose charge” from their customers. The funds support:

  1. Energy conservation in K-12 schools delivered through school districts
  2. Low-income housing energy assistance delivered through Oregon Housing and Community Services
  3. Energy efficiency and renewable energy programs for residential and business customers delivered through Energy Trust, an independent, third party approved by the OPUC in 2001

In addition to its work under the 1999 energy restructuring law, Energy Trust administers gas conservation programs for Oregon residential and business customers of NW Natural (as of 2003) and Cascade Natural Gas (as of 2006). In 2009, through an agreement with NW Natural and the Washington Utilities and Transportation Commission, Energy Trust began serving NW Natural's customers in Washington.

The last piece of Energy Trust funding is separate legislation passed in 2007 that allows PGE and Pacific Power to work with Energy Trust on capturing more low-cost electric energy savings for their customers—avoiding the need to purchase more expensive electricity.

*Economic benefits are based on an independent analysis by ECONorthwest.