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PUD plans 8-percent utility rate increase

PUD plans 8-percent utility rate increase

Sequim Gazette staff

Clallam County Public Utility District is weighing the option of an 8-percent increase in retail electric utility rates.

Staff made the recommendation recently after the Bonneville Power Administration increased its wholesale power rates for the second time since October 2009.

PUD staff warned a rate increase was likely.

Last year, commissioners made the decision not to increase rates after Bonneville's first wholesale power rate increase because of the impact of the poor economy on customers.

Bonneville Power raised rates to PUD by 4.95 percent in October 2009 and to about 10 percent on Oct. 1.

"Nobody likes rate increases and it is not a decision we take lightly," said Doug Nass, PUD general manager.

"But absorbing this

second BPA wholesale power rate increase and cumulative 10-percent power rate increase is not a fiscally or operationally responsible decision."

The average PUD customer using 1,400 kilowatt-hours per month will see an increase of about $7.20 per month. Actual usage ranges and also depends on weather.

Staff is taking into consideration operating costs that are rising as well.

PUD must abide by I-937, which mandates it receives 15 percent of its power from renewable sources by 2020. Staff said these renewable sources are considerably more expensive.

"We are seeing utilities throughout the Northwest raising rates and unfortunately we are facing the same challenges they are," Nass said.

"Our customers can rest assured though that we remain focused on our mission of providing reliable, efficient, safe and low-cost utility services in a financially and environmentally responsible manner."

The commission is expected to make a decision on rates at its Oct. 25 meeting.

For more information, visit www.clallampud.net or call 452-9771.

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