Average rate increases in Clallam PUD could be $72 a year

By Paul Gottlieb
Peninsula Daily News

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PORT ANGELES — Average electricity and water rates could increase by $72 a year for Clallam Public Utility District customers in 2013.

“If a rate increase of 3 percent is enacted this spring, the impact on the average residential customer’s monthly bill [assumes 1,500 kilowatts an hour] would be approximately $3.50 per month,” district spokesman Mike Howe said Wednesday.

“On average, PUD water customers can expect to see an increase of about $2.50 on their monthly bill [assumes 900 cubic feet per second], though that amount can vary by system and usage.”

There is no rate increase planned for wastewater customers.

The three PUD commissioners unanimously approved a 2013 budget Monday that is based on rate increases of 6 percent for water customers and up to 3 percent for power customers.

Commissioner Hugh Haffner said Wednesday that the electricity rate increase probably would go into effect in May.

It would cover a wholesale rate increase that the federal Bonneville Power Administration is expected to impose in 2013, Haffner said.

Howe said the BPA also has reduced funding for conservation efforts that must be increased under the Energy Independence Act, which voters approved in 2006 as Initiative 937.

Water rates will increase in January to cover capital costs of maintaining the system.

“There are always things we have to do in terms of keeping the water system up to date,” Haffner said.

The PUD also has been working on new water wells in the Fairview area east of Port Angeles.

Some costs of those wells approach $1 million, Haffner said.

Water rates will increase by 6 percent in January for the third straight year.

Commissioners approved the increases in 2010.

Water rate increases generally are imposed in three-year cycles, Howe said.

The 2013 expense budgets approved Monday by commissioners are $57.4 million for the electric department, $4.7 million for the water department and $50,648 for the sewer department.

That compares with 2012 expense budgets of $57.9 million for the electric department, $3.7 million for the water department and $49,724 for the sewer department.

Senior Staff Writer Paul Gottlieb can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 5060, or at paul.gottlieb@peninsuladailynews.com.

Last modified: December 12. 2012 5:57PM
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