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UTC staff announce settlement on Puget Sound Energy electric rates

Media Contact: (360) 664-1116 or media@utc.wa.gov
Docket Number: UE-200980

Editor’s note: This news release reflects the position of energy staff of the Washington Utilities and Transportation Commission (UTC) and NOT the views of the three-member commission. It discusses an agreement that the commissioners have not yet reviewed. Any positions taken or comments offered by the commission staff regarding this proceeding should be attributed clearly to staff members and NOT to the UTC. 

 

Lacey, Wash. - Staff of the Utilities and Transportation Commission (UTC) announced an agreement to settle a request from Puget Sound Energy (PSE) to increase electric rates in Washington.

The three-member commission, which is not bound by this agreement, will make a final decision on PSE’s power cost only rate case request by this summer.

The full multiparty settlement calls for a general revenue increase of $65.3 million, with new rates beginning when approved, unless another date is set by the commission. The settlement represents a significant reduction from PSE’s request of $88 million.

Under the settlement, an average residential electric customer’s bill will increase about 2.9%. A residential customer using 900 kilowatt-hours could see an increase of $2.73, for a monthly bill of $98.30.

A virtual public hearing is scheduled for April 20 for customers to comment on the settlement.

The revenue increase identified in the settlement is based on significant increases in the cost of power supply since PSE’s 2019 general rate case. These increases in the cost of power are due to increasing natural gas prices, increasing costs for new and existing power purchase agreements, and increasing wholesale power prices.

The settlement includes a $1.2 million increase in annual funding for PSE’s Home Energy Lifeline Program (HELP) which provides bill assistance for PSE’s low-income customers. These additional funds would be available to customers on Oct. 1, 2021.

The parties to the full multiparty settlement are PSE, UTC staff, the Alliance of Western Energy Consumers (AWEC), and The Energy Project. The Public Counsel Unit of the Washington Office of the Attorney General did not join the settlement but does not oppose the settlement.

Public comments

Puget Sound Energy customers can attend the virtual public meeting at 6 p.m. on April 20 via Microsoft Teams, or by calling 253-372-2181 and using conference ID 843 565 680#.

Customers who are unable to attend the public meeting but wish to comment on the proposed rate increase can send correspondence to P.O. Box 47250 Olympia, Wash. 98504, comment@utc.wa.gov, or call toll-free 1-888-333-9882.

The commission has received 92 public comments to date on Puget Sound Energy’s rate increase proposal, three in favor, 88 opposed, and one undecided.

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.

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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Editor's note: The proposed settlement and related documents can be found in Docket UE-200980.

Topic(s)
Consumer
Energy
General