The rate increase is driven by several issues:
- An average ten percent increase in the cost of wholesale purchases of electricity from the Bonneville Power Administration (BPA) and a possible further boost in rates in coming years.
- The loss of rate credits from the BPA due to past overcharges by the federal agency.
- The possible loss of a $1 million annual discount from the BPA for certain utilities with a large proportion of rural customers. This is due to an increase in PUD customers.
- A Washington State requirement to buy a certain percentage of its electricity supply from qualifying renewable energy sources. The condition under state law will have a three percent impact on the cost of wholesale electricity purchased by the PUD for its customers.
- Overall increased operating costs for the PUD.
A residential customer using 1,000 kilowatt hours of electricity would expect a billing of approximately $81.24 per month, an increase of $4.84 per month (not including applicable Washington State or city of Shelton utility taxes). The PUD is using $500,000 from reserves this year to reduce the impact on rates.
The schedule and amount of rate increases being considered by the PUD include:
- A three percent rate increase for energy consumption and a ten cent per day increase in the daily customer charge beginning with the May 1, 2012 meter readings.
- A three percent rate increase for energy consumption and a ten cent per day increase in the daily customer charge in 2013.
- A three percent rate increase for energy consumption in 2014.
Qualifying low income senior citizens and low income/disabled customers may want to ask about available discounts that result in a waiver of the daily charge from their bills. For more information about these programs, contact the PUD’s customer service office at (360) 426-8255 – Shelton; (360) 275-2833 – Belfair, or (360) 861-4247 – Elma.
PUD 3 also has a wide range of rebates and incentives to help reduce electricity consumption. Services include a free energy audit to identify ways to save energy.
The rate increases are a part of PUD 3’s five year financial plan to ensure safe and reliable energy for PUD customers at the lowest possible rates.