Most Commonly Asked Questions About The PUD

Why do I pay a basic customer charge each month?

The District collects its revenues for electric energy delivered to customers in two forms: the energy charge and the basic customer charge. The energy charge is based upon the amount of energy used. The basic customer charge is based on how many days the customer was connected to the system. The District is required to maintain the line, read meters, pay for operating costs, and make energy available to customers no matter how much or how little they use. This is similar to a fixed cost in another business. It is this component of our cost that is partially being recovered by the customer service charge. A larger portion of these costs is included in the energy component of our current rates.

With the high probability of restructuring coming to the electric utility industry, it is possible that the fixed cost recovery charges will increase and the energy charge will decrease to reflect only the cost of purchasing electric energy in the market. This will be a substantial change from the historic method of setting rates in the utility industry.

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Why are my electric bills so high during the winter heating months even though I make great efforts to conserve?

Making comparisons are difficult because everyone uses electricity differently. But comparisons aside, the cost of heating your home increases as the outside temperature in winter drops. The extent that this affects your electric bill depends on your life style and how energy efficient your home was built: i.e., insulation values of walls, ceilings, floors, doors, windows, skylights; type of heating system; amount of air infiltration; solar orientation; and floor space or volume of your home. For more information, please call the Utility Services Department at ext. 249.

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What should I do if the water pressure inside my house seems lower than normal?

Turn on faucets in the house one at a time to see if pressure is low in all parts of the house, as well as outside faucets. If pressure is lower in some areas of the house and not others, remove and clean faucet screens and check for partially closed shut-off valves. If there is no improvement, there may be a restriction within your home’s plumbing. A plumber may need to be contacted to remove the restriction. If pressure is low in all parts of the house, please call the PUD Water Department at ext. 216.

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Why is my water bill higher than normal?

Abnormally high water consumption may be attributed to a leaking toilet, dripping faucets (inside or outside), leaking lawn-sprinkler system, a leak in the plumbing within the home, and/or a leak in the water service line from the water meter to the house. If there is a shut-off valve on the house where the waterline enters, turn it off. If the meter continues to spin, there may be a leak in the service line leading up to the home. If it does not spin, there may be a leak in the internal plumbing of your home.

Customers are responsible for any maintenance or repairs on their side of the water meter. Please call the PUD Water Department at ext. 216 for questions or comments.

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I want to either put a tool shed or plant some shrubs near my transformer. Are there any guidelines I need to follow?

When you make plans to landscape or make other changes in your yard, please remember these important points regarding PUD equipment.

• Obstructing airflow can affect equipment cooling and cause Transformer clearancedamage.

• Obstructions can cause delays when restoring electric service.

• Do not paint PUD equipment.

• Do not fence, landscape, or build any structures within 10 feet of the front and 3 feet from sides and back of PUD equipment that would restrict access.

• The PUD will remove obstructions that impede work access.

If you are unsure if your landscaping plans will interfere with our equipment, please call the Operations Department at (360) 452-9771 or toll-free at 1 (800) 542-7859.

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How much space or access is needed for meters?

Shrubs should be trimmed, dogs restricted and pathways should be clear for safe access to metering equipment. Meters shall not be enclosed or put in the rear of buildings or in a location that is fenced. Pathways need to be a minimum of 2′ in width and if there is a walkway over a ditch that is wider than 6′, a structurally sound handrail is required. Clear space in front of the meter equipment shall be 36″ deep, as wide as the equipment or 36″ (whichever is greater) and as high as the top of the equipment or at least 6’6″ high. Meters shall be readily removable (not plastered or built in), not recessed behind the exterior wall surface. Any meter that is installed in an alley or driveway must be flush mounted on the wall and protected adequately to prevent damage from vehicular traffic. In the event of loss or damage to District property arising from neglect, carelessness or misuse, the cost of necessary repairs or replacement will be billed to the Customer. For more information, please call the Customer Services Supervisor at Ext. 240.

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Are there any service and meter regulation rights?

The District reserves the right to refuse to connect, or render service to any applicant or any customer who has not complied with State, Municipal or District regulations, or has an unpaid obligation to the District. The District also has the right to enter upon the premises of the customer for the purpose of reading, inspecting, repairing or removing the metering devices, appliances or wiring of the District. Customers that have a private, locked gate will be required to install a dual locking device which will allow the customer’s locking mechanism and a District lock to work independent of each other or pay for the installation of a District lockbox for housing the customer’s key. For more information, please call the Customer Services Supervisor at Ext. 240.

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We plan to purchase a generator to use when the power is out. Does the PUD have any requirements pertaining to generator use during power outages?

Many customers are planning to purchase or already own a generator. Generators must be installed properly or they can backfeed through the service to the distribution lines, causing a serious safety hazard for the crews restoring power, and your neighbors who may think the power lines are dead. Generators should be connected to the buildings electrical system using an approved transfer switch. The alternative is to plug selected appliances and equipment directly into the generator.

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Other questions can be directed to us by phone or mail at the address or phone numbers listed here.

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