PUD warns of possible rate Increase

Energy rates could increase nearly 5 percent for Clallam County Public Utility District customers Oct. 1.

The Bonneville Power Administration will impose a 4.95-percent wholesale power-rate increase on the PUD and it could be passed on to customers, said PUD Executive Communications Coordinator Michael Howe.

Last year BPA imposed a similar increase, which was absorbed by the PUD, he said.

Absorbing a second wholesale power-rate increase would not be a fiscally prudent decision, though the PUD still is strong financially, he said.

In 2008 BPA announced the possibility of a double-digit wholesale power-rate increase, with the option of taking the increase all at once in 2009 or dividing it over two years, Howe said.

"Given the economic climate, we felt spreading it over a two-year period would be best for our customers," PUD Commissioner Hugh Haffner said. "Fortunately we were able to absorb the first half to help mitigate the impact on our customers."

During the Aug. 23 commissioners' meeting, the possibility of raising retail rates was discussed. More discussions will be held at future meetings and it is likely the PUD will hold rate hearings during September in anticipation of the October increase, Howe said.

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