New rates go into effect Dec. 10
OLYMPIA, Wash. – State regulators today approved about one-third of Pacific Power’s proposed $42.8 million electric rate increase.
The Washington Utilities and Transportation Commission (UTC) approved a $16.7 million or 5.5 percent overall rate increase for Pacific Power electric customers, rejecting the company’s original request for a $42.8 million or 14.1 percent increase in additional revenue.
“The commission’s responsibility in general rate case proceedings is to determine an appropriate balance between the needs of the public to have safe and reliable electric service at reasonable rates, and the financial ability of the utility to provide such services on an ongoing basis,” said the three-member commission in its written decision.
Beginning Dec. 10, the average residential customer using 1,300 kilowatt hours-per-month will see their electric bill increase by $6, for a total monthly bill of $112.48.
Residential customers’ basic service charge will increase - from $6 to $7.75 - a month, less than the $10 a month charge the company was seeking. The basic service charge is paid by all customers regardless of the amount of electricity used.
The commission is allowing Pacific Power to earn a 7.36 percent overall rate of return, not the 7.8 percent the company originally sought. Currently, the company’s authorized rate of return is 7.74 percent. The adjustment to the rate of return accounts for about $6.4 million of the $26.1 million difference between the company’s rate increase request and what the UTC approved. Other major differences between the company’s request and the commission’s decision include a $13.8 million reduction in power supply costs and $2.4 million less in recovery of investments.
The UTC approved an 18 percent increase in funding - from $1.7 to $2 million - for Pacific Power’s low-income assistance program. The program will benefit approximately 5,200 qualifying participants.
The commission has received 86 public comments on the Pacific Power rate increase request with 75 opposed, one in favor and 10 undecided.
Pacific Power is a division of Portland-based PacifiCorp and is owned by MidAmerican Energy Holdings Co. of Des Moines, Iowa. The company provides electric service to about 132,000 customers in five Eastern Washington counties: Kittitas, Columbia, Garfield, Walla Walla and Yakima. Cities in the company’s service territory include Yakima, Toppenish, Sunnyside, Selah, Pomeroy, Dayton and Walla Walla.
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.