State limits PSE electric rates
of July 1, Puget Sound Energy (PSE) customers may start
to see a decrease in their electric bills.
The Washington Utilities and Transportation Commission, the state agency that reviews and approves utility rates, approved new rates for PSE June 20. The settlement will allow PSE to raise rates less than $3 a month, on average, over last year. Since April, PSE customers have seen rate hikes of about $5 a month.
The settlement calls for a Power Cost Adjustment Mechanism, which will allow PSE to file for rate adjustments depending on prices the company must pay for fuel and power purchases required to meet demand. Power costs in excess of $20 million will be shared between customers and PSE.
PSE is also required to set up an energy-bill assistance program to aid low-income families, commit to energy-conservation, respond to electrical emergencies and downed power lines in an average of 55 minutes, and keep customer complaints, extended outages and power interruptions low at the risk of a $10 million annual fine.
Only PSEs electrical customers will be effected by the settlement. Negotiations are still in progress in a natural-gas settlement.