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Possible Rate Increase for All Customers
Commissioners are considering rate increases for Electric, Water, and Wastewater customers as part of the 2015 budget. The 2015 PUD budget, to be approved at the December 15, 2014 Commission meeting in Port Angeles, is predicated on the following rate increases: electric retail rate increase of 3.5% effective on all bills rendered on or after April 1, 2015; a 6% retail water rate increase effective on all bills rendered on or after January 1, 2015; and, a 6% sewer rate increase effective on all bills rendered on or after January 1, 2015.
For electric utility customers, a 3.5% increase in retail electric utility rates amounts to an increase of approximately $3.35 per month for the average PUD residential customer, using 1200 kWh per month. For water utility customers, a 6.0% rate increase will result in approximately $2.50 more per month on the average bill. Sewer customers will see an increase of approximately $2.40 per month on their average bill.
This 3.5% increase is a second increase stemming from a Bonneville Power Administration (BPA) 8% wholesale power increase from 2013. That total increase wholesale increase went into effect last year but to minimize the impact to customers the PUD delayed the second half until 2015, instead of doing it all in 2014. This approach keeps with the goal of providing stable rates and minimizing the impact to customers.
In addition to the BPA wholesale rate increase there are continued rate pressures from rising costs associated with materials cost, operations, maintenance, and technology. Renewable energy mandates and conservation mandates, such as those from the Washington Energy Independence Act (formerly known as Initiative 937), will also play a larger role in the future.
In October 2015 the Bonneville Power Administration (BPA) is again expected to increase wholesale rates by approximately 6-9% (final amount is still to be determined). This represents the largest cost center for the PUD at about 45% of the total budget. Staff and Commissioners will again work to keep with the philosophy of providing low stable rates.
Water / Wastewater
Retail rate increases associated with Water and Wastewater are largely a result of increased maintenance costs and infrastructure needs.
PUD staff has scheduled public meetings to consider the implementation of an increase to its electric, water, and sewer rates. “Rate increases for our utilities are necessary at this time,” says Doug Nass, PUD General Manager. “BPA increases, regulatory mandates, operational, and maintenance costs result in rate pressures that need to be addressed.”
The two scheduled public forums, as well as the December 15th regular Commission meeting are the final opportunities for the public to learn more about the reasoning behind the proposed rate increases and to offer input. The PUD Commissioners have held two public work sessions and multiple Commission Meetings since opening the budget hearing in early October.
“Commissioners and PUD staff worked hard to find ways to minimize the impact on customers, maintain high reliability and strong customer service and I think we were effective at doing so while maintaining our ability to meet the demands of various rate pressures,” said Nass. “We are also able to meet our Strategic Plan Objectives and continue with the practice of low stable and predictable rates.”
December 10, 2014 from 1:00 to 2:00 p.m.
650 N. Sequim Ave.
December 11, 2014 from 1:00 to 2:00 p.m.
Forks, JT’s Sweet Stuffs
80 N. Forks Ave.
December 15, 2014 at 1:30 p.m.
PUD Main Office
2431 E. Hwy. 101, Port Angeles