PUD instates another three-year set of water rate increases

Sequim Gazette

The Clallam County Public Utility District will raise water rates by 6 percent annually for three years starting June 1, immediately following a previous three-year rate increase of 6.5 percent annually.


PUD commissioners approved the increase May 16 after holding three public hearings, which did not receive any public comment.


Mike Howe, PUD executive communications coordinator, said the public hearings were held in conjunction with the regular commission meetings at three different dates and locations. No one from the public attended to watch the presentation on the water rate increase or comment on it, he said.


An additional 6-percent rate increase will begin in 2012 and a third 6-percent increase will begin in 2013.


Josh Bunch, PUD treasurer, said commissioners last approved a series of rate increases in 2007. The result was a 6.5-percent rate increase on Jan. 1, 2008, an additional 6.5-percent rate increase on Jan. 1, 2009, and a third 6.5-percent rate increase on Jan. 1, 2010.


Howe said a recent water cost of service study recommended the PUD increase rates by 9.8 percent for three years in a row.


“PUD staff was able to whittle the proposed increase down to 6 percent by deferring some projects and reallocating resources,” he said in a news release. “It was determined that a 6 percent increase over the next three years was still needed to meet regulatory mandates, fund ongoing maintenance of aging infrastructure and to meet other operational costs.”


The PUD serves an estimated 4,300 water customers in Clallam County. The average monthly bill increase will be $2 to $4, Bunch said.


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