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PUD may Raise Power Rates by 4 Percent

by Staff
The Daily World, March 17, 2009

Grays Harbor PUD commissioners are considering raising power rates by 4 percent to offset declining revenues and increased costs from the Bonneville Power Administration.

The increase would be about $3.35 per month on the typical Grays Harbor home using 1,300 kilowatt hours.

As a result of the potential increase, the PUD commissioners will convene a public forum from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. Monday, March 30, at Aberdeen High School's Sam Benn Gym.

In addition to raising rates, the commissioners are also "looking at all possible cost saving measures," including cuts in services, spokeswoman Liz Anderson said this morning.

The rate increases may be necessary, Anderson said, because the PUD is facing a proposed rate increase by the Bonneville Power Administration of 9.4 percent for the power the PUD purchases from them. About 78 percent of Grays Harbor PUD's total power resources come from BPA, and increases in BPA's rate will have a direct impact on the PUD's costs, Anderson said.

"While we have no 'veto power' over BPA decisions, we have a long history of being a vocal and effective watchdog on behalf of our ratepayers," Anderson said. "As we have in the past, Grays Harbor PUD will take an active role in BPA's rate case to ensure the BPA rate is as low as possible. It should also be noted that the 9.4 percent was the initial proposal. ... Recent indications are that this will be higher by the time the rate is finalized."

In addition, Anderson said the PUD is selling less surplus power in Western electricity markets than in previous years.

"To minimize the impact of the recession, we have taken action to enter into power sales agreements now that will ensure a stable source of revenue into the future and help insulate us against further possible revenue decreases," Anderson said in an e-mail. "By entering into these agreements for future sales of forecasted power surpluses, we are taking advantage of pricing now that is more favorable than what we are forecasting in the future. This ensures a predictable revenue stream for the PUD, no matter what the market conditions are in the future."

PUD may Raise Power Rates by 4 Percent
The Daily World, March 17, 2009

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