Oregon Service Tariff Rates Support Damage Prevention

Oregon Utility Notification Center operations are funded through a service tariff paid for by underground facility members on a per ticket/notification basis. The Oregon Utility Notification Center receives no tax money from state or federal government.

As stated in ORS 757.552 (2)(b), the Oregon Utility Notification Center is required to, “… establish rates, on a per call basis, under which subscribers shall pay to fund all of the activities of the Oregon Utility Notification Center.”

To support ongoing operations, the OUNC Board of Directors approved a .09 cent (6.43%) rate adjustment to the service tariff base rate, which will take effect on July 1, 2024. Additionally, at the July 18 OUNC Board Meeting, the board will consider a new process to adjust rates on an annual basis, starting on January 1, 2025.

If you have questions, comments or need additional information, please reach out to us at info@digsafelyoregon.com.

Frequently Asked Questions

Service Tariff funds support the current and future financial obligations of the Oregon Utility Notification Center. Almost the entirety of the OUNC’s revenue comes from the Service Tariff, while more than 3/4 of all expenditures are contractually obligated for continued notification center operations.

The funds support technological upgrades and enhancements that improve system efficiency and reduce damages – saving time and costs for Oregon 811 system users. They also support training programs and outreach efforts.

This is about revenue keeping pace with expenses. The top factors that contribute to this issue include:

  • Contract for Notification Center – the contract includes a capped annual increase tied to the Consumer Price Index. While inflation affects other increasing costs, the contract escalation is a primary factor because it represents approximately 3/4 of all expenditures.
  • System and Service Enhancements – increased costs cover upgrades to the notification center, which has increased accuracy. This reduces unnecessary locate requests and related truck rolls for subscribers, saving significant time, money and resources through the efficient use of technology.
  • In/Out Ratio – improved accuracy of excavation areas (and related notification) has brought a sustained, declining number of outgoing tickets per incoming requests. This directly impacts the bottom line, as the guaranteed cost increases are not matched by revenue.
  • Hiring staff – with the hiring of employees, the board acknowledged that there was some uncertainty in the long-term overhead cost increases. These costs carry an annual escalation as well.

Maximizing the use of our existing resources and controlling costs are ongoing priorities, but if costs continue to escalate while the tariff rate remains idle we cannot solve this issue through cuts. As the board pursues long-term solutions to prevent damage, this will require more investments in vital programs and outreach – not less. Adequate and stable funding is needed to support these important, ongoing efforts.

Prior to 2024, there has been no set schedule for escalation of the service tariff rate, and it has been adjusted on an as-needed basis.

On July 13, 2022, the board approved a phased increase of the service tariff of 12.5% from $1.20 to $1.35 starting in August 2022 and an increase of another 3.7% to $1.40 per ticket starting January of 2023. Similarly, the rate for voice transmitted tickets increased from $6.50 to $7.31 on August 1, 2022, and to $7.58 in January 2023.

Effective July 1, 2019, the rate increased from $1.05 to $1.20. Prior to that change, the previous rate increase to $1.05 was approved in 2004.

Over the past 20 years, prior increases have averaged 0.0175 (1.67%) annually.

If you have questions, comments or concerns about the Service Tariff, please email info@digsafelyoregon.com.