PUD Board Adopts New Rates
September 16, 2015 – At their September 15, 2015, public meeting, the Board of Directors for Columbia River People’s Utility District (PUD) adopted new rates that will take effect on October 1. The new rates represent an overall increase of 6.4%.
“We were able to incorporate the input from customers into our rate structure and adopt rates that will maintain the financial health of the PUD,” said PUD Board Vice President Jake Carter.
For residential customers, the monthly Customer Charge will increase from $8 to $10 and the energy charge will increase by four tenths of a cent to $0.068. A complete set of rate schedules can be found online.
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A June 2015 Cost of Service Analysis (COSA) showed the PUD needed to raise rates in October when Bonneville Power Administration increases wholesale power prices again. Power costs make up about 60% of the PUD’s annual operating & capital budget. Over the past 10 years, the PUD’s wholesale power costs have increased by about 29% while the PUD’s overall electric rates have gone up by about 10%.
The COSA 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. According to the study, the monthly customer charge for residential customers should be more than $20 a month.
At an August rate hearing some customers spoke in support of keeping the monthly customer charge lower by raising the energy charge. Based on their input, the Board requested that PUD staff prepare four rate scenarios for consideration. They approved the scenario that increases the monthly customer charge by $2 and increases the energy charges by four tenths of a cent.
The Board also approved a new rate schedule for qualifying low-income senior citizens, which was another topic of concern for some customers who participated in the rate hearing. The low-income senior discount will provide a 10% discount on the energy charges on a bill, in addition to the $8 customer charge waiver provided to all low-income customers.
“I am proud of the work that staff did for the COSA report and in providing different rate structure scenarios to the Board. These rates will be in effect for the next two years, if not longer,” said Interim General Manager John Nguyen.
The new rates will apply to all bills rendered after October 1, 2015. The PUD will review rates again in 2017 if wholesale power costs rise again.