Grays Harbor PUD proposes flat fee, reduced service charge in rate restructuring

The elimination of the two-tiered residential rate schedule and a reduction in the monthly system charge highlight a restructuring of rates to be considered by the Grays Harbor PUD Board of Commissioners at their April 4th meeting.

Under the new rate structure, the monthly residential system charge will be reduced from $40.54 to $39.00.  The utility will eliminate the two-tiered rate schedule in favor of a flat $0.0725 per kilowatt hour.  Under the old system, customers paid $0.0124 for the first 360 kilowatt hours and $0.0871 for each additional kilowatt hour.

“After an examination of customer rates and costs of service, we found some customers were being charged less than it cost to provide them with electrical services.  In the end, some customers were being subsidized by others,” said General Manager Dave Ward.  “By leveling the rates, we ensure that all customers pay the same amount for the electricity they use.”

“From the start, this has been a data driven process,” said Commission Chair Russ Skolrood.  “This new schedule is the result of a close examination of our costs and rates.  Using that information, we have arrived at a conclusion we feel is a fair balance and an accurate picture of both customer and utility costs.”

The new rate structure will impact the average residential customer using 1500 kilowatts per month with an increase of $3.45 to their monthly bill.  The largest impact will be felt by customers who use a small amount of electricity.  Customers who use larger amounts will actually see their bills decrease.

“This is the result of the first cost of service study the PUD has carried out in seven years.  In that time a large disparity was created in residential rates.  This restructure corrects that disparity and moving forward, the utility is committed to carrying out cost of service studies every three to four years,” said Chief Financial Officer Doug Streeter.

The rate restructure will also have a small impact on area businesses.  Small and Large General Service or commercial customers will see an increase of 1.5% per month.  Irrigation and industrial customers will not be impacted at this time.

The Board of Commissioners will consider the resolution adopting the new rate schedule on April 4th at 4:30PM.  If adopted, the new rate schedule will take effect on May 1st.

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