Jefferson PUD to consider BPA rate proposal before offering electrical power in April

By Jeremy Schwartz
Peninsula Daily News

PORT TOWNSEND — The Jefferson County Public Utility District will take into account any change in Bonneville Power Administration rates when it sets rates before becoming an electrical provider in April.

BPA expects the proposed rate changes — which, if approved after the current public comment period, would take effect in October — to hike power generation costs by an average of 9.6 percent and transmission rates by an average of 11.2 percent for the agency’s 70 public utility and municipal accounts.

For other BPA customers, the impact could be much greater.

Port Angeles could pay 55 percent to 60 percent more for electricity transmission — roughly
$1 million — under BPA’s proposed billing changes, which could raise rates for customers, said Terry Mundorf, a Port Angeles consultant from Mill-Creek-based law firm Marsh, Mundorf, Pratt, Sullivan & McKenzie.

The potential effect on the Jefferson County PUD is unknown.

Puget Sound Energy, or PSE, supplies electrical power in East Jefferson County, but that will change April 1, when the PUD will take over as the electrical provider in East Jefferson County.

PSE does not use BPA power. The PUD will purchase electrical power from BPA.

PUD Manager Jim Parker said his staff members have not yet determined what effect BPA’s proposed billing changes could have on roughly 19,000 East Jefferson County customers that the district will take over from PSE.

Barney Burke, president of the PUD Board of Commissioners, said the district is in the process of determining what customer electricity rates will be, with a completed rate proposal expected some time in February.

“We’re getting close to being able to set our rates,” Burke said.

PUD staff will take into account the proposed BPA rate increases when determining what electricity rates for Jefferson County customers will be, Burke explained, adding that the utility district intends to keep rates level or below what their soon-to-be Jefferson County customers currently pay.

Last modified: January 14. 2013 5:37PM
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