Sequim, Washington-based Clallam County Public Utility District #1 (PUD) voted on December 15 to recommended 3.8 percent increase in retail electric utility rates paid by its 30,000 customers.
The retail electric rate increase is equal to about $4.20 per month for the average PUD residential customer, who uses about 1,200 kilowatt-hours (kWh) each month. The actual retail electric rate hike will be applied as an increase of $2.50 per month on the customer’s base charge and approximately 2 percent on kWh usage, which adds up to roughly 3.8 percent overall.
In dollars and cents, currently, electric customers pay an average of $110.10 monthly; with the rate increase, such bills will increase to $114.29.
The approved electric retail rate increase will be effective on all bills rendered on or after April 1 – which includes all usage since the customer’s prior bill.
“This electric rate increase is consistent with our strategic objective of maintaining stable rates and financial responsibility to our customers,” commented PUD General Manager Doug Nass, adding, “While rate increases are not something customers want, they are necessary given current rate pressures. Even with the rate increase though, we are fortunate to have amongst the lowest electric utility rates in the state and country.”
For Clallam PUD, Nass explained, weather is responsible for almost all usage and revenue variations. Both 2014 and 2015 have been unseasonably warm, which has resulted in a significant revenue decline.
Other rate pressures include anticipated Bonneville Power Administration wholesale rate increases of approximately 8 percent each biennium, and the added costs of meeting the mandates of Washington’s Energy Independence Act.
In October 2015 the Bonneville Power Administration (BPA) increased rates by approximately 6% percent This represents the largest cost center for the PUD – at about 44 percent of the total budget. Staff and C instead of just one, which keeps with the philosophy of providing stab rates. Additional BPA rate increases are expected in 2017 and 2019.