Public invited to comment on Puget Sound Energy’s rate request

Can phone into January meetings in Lacey, Bellevue

Puget Sound Energy customers will have the opportunity to comment to state regulators on the company’s proposed electric and natural gas rate changes that are in front of the Washington Utilities and Transportation Commission.

WHEN and WHERE

Tuesday, Jan. 7

UTC headquarters

621 Woodland Square Loop S.E.

Lacey

6 p.m.

Wednesday, Jan. 22

Bellevue City Hall Council Chamber

450 110th Ave N.E.

Bellevue

6 p.m.

Remote participation is available by calling (360) 407-3810, Conference ID: 9524028. If participating via phone, please call 1-888-333-9882 at least one day in advance to sign-in for the hearing.

BACKGROUND

In June, Puget Sound Energy filed a rate case with the Utilities and Transportation Commission requesting an increase of $139.9 million, or 6.9%, in additional electric revenue and $65.5 million, or 7.9%, in additional gas revenue.

The company’s proposed rates would increase the average residential electric customer’s bill by $5.51, for an average monthly bill of $95.61. The company’s proposal would raise the average residential natural gas customer’s bill by $2.45, for an average monthly bill of $62.05.

In November, after reviewing the company’s costs to supply power and for infrastructure investments, commission energy staff recommended smaller increases of approximately $50 million, or 2.5%, to electric rates and $38.4 million, or 4.6%, to natural gas rates.

Under UTC staff’s proposed rates, PSE’s average residential electric customer using 900 kilowatt hours a month would pay $1.13 more a month, for an average monthly bill of $91.23. PSE’s average residential natural gas customer using 64 therms a month would pay $2.14 more under staff’s recommendation, for an average monthly bill of $61.74.

Staff’s proposal also recovers in rates the remaining costs associated with PSE’s partial ownership of the Colstrip coal-fired power plant in Montana, which by law must not serve Washington customers after 2025.

The three-member commission, which is not bound by the company’s request or the staff recommendation, will make a final decision on the utility’s rate request next spring. New rates would go into effect in April 2020.

The commission has received 136 public comments to date on Puget Sound Energy’s rate proposal—134 opposed and two undecided.

Customers who want to comment on the proposed plans can submit comments online at www.utc.wa.gov/comments; write to P.O. Box 47250, Olympia, WA, 98504; email comments@utc.wa.gov; or call toll-free 1-888-333-9882.

The company last filed a rate case in 2018.

Bellevue-based PSE provides electricity service to more than 1.1 million electric customers in eight Washington counties: Island, King, Kitsap, Kittitas, Pierce, Skagit, Thurston and Whatcom. PSE also provides natural gas service to more than 800,000 customers in six Washington counties: King, Kittitas, Lewis, Pierce, Snohomish and Thurston.

The UTC is the state agency that regulates private, investor-owned electric and natural gas utilities in Washington. It is the commission’s responsibility to ensure regulated companies provide safe and reliable service to customers at reasonable rates, while allowing them the opportunity to earn a fair profit.

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