PUD Rates Will Change October 1
St. Helens, OR – August 18, 2021 – Columbia River PUD’s rates are changing on October 1.
Beginning with bills rendered October 1, the PUD’s residential customers and small general service customers will each see their monthly base charge increase by $3 per month. The new residential base charge will be $18, up from $15. The base charge for the small general service customers goes from $25 per month to $28 per month.
Residential customers receiving the income-qualified discount will see their base charge go from $3 to $3.60 per month.
Irrigation customers will see a difference in the amount and frequency of their base charge. Currently, they are billed $200 annually. That will change to $20 per month.
There will be no impact to the energy charge for these customers. Income-qualified seniors will continue to receive a 10% discount on their energy charge.
“We’re really pleased we’re able to keep our rates low – to an overall 1.2% increase,” said PUD General Manager Michael Sykes.
With this change, CRPUD’s residential rates are still about 20% lower than the statewide average and 33% lower than the national average.
Large general service customers and industrial customers will see slight decreases for their energy charges. The energy charge for large general service customers will decrease from 5.06¢ per kilowatt hour to 4.93¢ per kWh. Industrial customers’ energy charge will decrease from 4.40¢ per kWh to 4.29¢ per kWh.
“This could be really positive for our existing industrial and large general service customers. We hope that it encourages new industry to locate here with the reduced rate,” Sykes said.
These changes are in line with the Board of Directors’ long-term plan to align PUD revenues with the recommendations of a Cost of Service Analysis (COSA). The COSA recommends collecting 60% of revenue through variable costs, like the energy charge, and 40% of revenue through fixed costs, like the base charge. Increasing the base charge is a small step toward the COSA recommendations while minimizing the impact on customers.
“I think we’ve done a good job financially, working to keep our rates low and continuing to work towards the goals of the COSA within what we think is reasonable,” said Board Member Jake Carter. “I like what I’m seeing her on our increase: Keeping it as low as we can and trying to balance it out better.”
The PUD’s Rate Advisory Committee met in June to review the results of the 2021 COSA. The Board of Directors held a public hearing on the proposed rate change during its August 17 meeting.
“As much as we would like to not have any increase at all, the rate of inflation is forcing us to adjust it,” said Board Member Garratt Tayler. “Unfortunately, we’re paying more for certain materials since the pandemic hit and it’s not likely to return to normal any time soon.”