Board to Consider Rate Increase Proposals at September 15 Meeting

10-Year Residential Price Comparison
10-Year Residential Price Comparison

September 1, 2015 – At their September 15, 2015, public meeting, the Board of Directors for Columbia River People’s Utility District (PUD) will consider different scenarios for how a planned October 1 rate increase could be structured.

The Board has been working on the rate increase since receiving the results of a Cost of Service Analysis at a June 30, 2015, Customer Rate Advisory Committee Meeting. That analysis showed the PUD needed to raise rates in October when Bonneville Power Administration increases wholesale power prices. Power costs make up about 60% of the PUD’s annual operating & capital budget.

The Cost of Service Analysis recommended increasing the fixed monthly customer charges. These charges are intended to cover the costs involved in providing electricity to a home or business such as maintaining the poles and lines, reading meters and issuing bills. Residential customers currently pay an $8 monthly customer charge. Customer charges at neighboring utilities range from $10 to $37.

At the August rate hearing, some customers spoke in support of raising the energy charges to help keep the monthly customer charges lower. Based on their input, the Board requested that PUD staff prepare additional scenarios for consideration.

“Our staff did a great job of developing the rate recommendation they presented to us in August, and our customers gave us some important feedback at our rate hearing,” said PUD Board Vice President Jake Carter. “Now it’s our job to put it all together in a way that meets customer expectations and maintains the financial health of the PUD.”

Meeting Details

The September 15 meeting will begin at 6:00 p.m. in the Community Room at the PUD office, located at 64001 Columbia River Highway in Deer Island, OR. For additional information, contact Board Secretary Heidi Ralls at  or (503) 397-1844.

About the Cost of Service Analysis

EES Consulting of Kirkland, Washington, conducted a Cost of Service Analysis for the PUD in the spring of 2015. The study was designed to evaluate whether the PUD’s rates are sufficient to recover the cost of operations and to determine whether rates are structured to be fair, equitable and competitive.

The study showed:

  • The PUD’s existing rates are not sufficient to cover the PUD’s planned operating expenses without drawing down cash reserves below the Board’s requested level of $8.2 million. Without a rate increase, the PUD would deplete its cash reserves by 2018.
  • The PUD’s rate structure should be adjusted so that a larger portion of revenues are collected through the fixed Customer Charge.
  • Large General Service and Industrial Customers are paying more than their cost of service, while customers in other rate classes are paying less.