State regulators approved a multiparty settlement in Puget Sound Energy’s power cost rate case, slightly increasing customer rates.
The settlement, approved by the state Utilities and Transportation Commission, includes a revenue increase of $65.3 million, a significant decrease from the $88 million Puget Sound Energy originally requested. The new rates will go into effect July 1.
An average residential electric customer’s bill will increase about 2.9%, according to the state Utilities and Transportation Commission. A residential customer using 900 kilowatt-hours will see an increase of $2.73, for a monthly bill of $98.30.
The increased power supply costs since PSE’s 2019 rate case were the main driving factor behind the revenue increase. These included increasing natural gas prices, new and existing power purchase agreements, and rising wholesale power prices. Final rates will be subject to an update to reflect current market costs for power.
PSE’s low-income customers will also see more bill assistance beginning Oct. 1. The settlement includes a $1.2 million increase in annual funding for PSE’s Home Energy Lifeline Program (HELP).
The commission held a public comment hearing on April 20 and received 172 public comments on Puget Sound Energy’s rate increase proposal, five in favor, 165 opposed and two undecided.
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 neither joined nor opposed the settlement.
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.