PGE suggests its customers work on energy efficiency upgrades to reduce their overall electricity needs. It also offers an “Equal Pay” option to even out the monthly costs of electricity over a 12-month period.

Electricity is not the only heating option that is facing price increases. Each fall NW Natural adjusts its rates depending on the price it pays for gas. In November, NW Natural expects to raise rates by a “significant amount.” NW Natural offers a payment plan similar to PGE to help even out bills on a yearly basis.

Both companies have teamed with Energy Trust of Oregon to provide an online “Home Energy Analyzer” to help you find where your home’s electricity costs are used. Visit energytrust.org for information. Their Web site also offers an exhaustive list of tasks that can reduce your energy costs. They range from making sure your computers are utilizing the “stand-by” option to replacing conventional light bulbs with CFL low-energy bulbs.

To get help with your Portland General bill or to find out how you can help others with their heating costs, visit www.portlandgeneral.com or call (800) 542-8818. If you are a NW Natural Gas customer, visit nwnatural.com or call (800) 422-4012.