Ore. Senate votes to hike low-income electric fee

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SALEM, Ore. (AP) -- The Oregon Senate has voted to hike electric bills to help low-income families.

The Senate's 21-8 vote sends the measure to the House. The increase would expire in two years or if the economy significantly approves.

Supporters say the measure would raise electric bills by roughly 35 cents per month. They say it's an important measure that will help keep the lights on and the heater blowing for vulnerable families.

Opponents say the bill is a tax on ratepayers that applies only to investor-owned utilities. They say the Legislature should find a way to apply the fee to all electricity customers if it wants to raise the rates.