Clallam Public Utility District eyes rate hike for electricity users

By Jeremy Schwartz
Peninsula Daily News

PORT ANGELES — Clallam County Public Utility District electrical power customers could see a 3 percent across-the-board rate increase after next April if commissioners decide to enact them after public hearings in the spring.

The PUD staff told commissioners at work sessions Monday and Tuesday that the revenues for the 2014 electrical budget presume a 3 percent rate increase, but commissioners have taken no action on such a hike and won’t consider action until after public hearings next year.

PUD staff have not calculated what such a rate increase will mean for the average electric customer, spokesman Michael Howe said.

No water rate changes for 2014 are proposed for the PUD’s 4,500 water customers, he added.

Any of its 30,000 electric customers will get a chance to comment on a more detailed electric rate proposal before commissioners consider the new rates, likely in April, Howe added.

Working out details

Staff will work out the details of the proposed rate increase, presumed in the PUD’s 2014 electric system budget, by early spring, Howe said.

By then, a consultant will have completed a study on how much it costs to run the electric utility, he added.

Commissioners are expected to decide on a consultant in December, Howe said. If a contract is approved then, the cost-of-service study could be done by March.

The PUD’s electrical department expense budget is expected to be about $65.6 million in 2014, up from $57.9 million in 2013.

Revenues, expense

Electric revenues are expected to be $64.9 million in 2014, up from $57.2 million budgeted for 2013.

The PUD’s water department expense budget is expected to be $6.9 million in 2014, up from $4.7 million in 2013.

Water revenues are expected to be $6.8 million in 2014, up from $4.5 million budgeted for 2013.

The PUD’s largest upcoming expenses include about $10.2 million worth of new construction expected to start, contingent on commissioner approval and permitting, next June or July and take between 14 and 18 months.

The new construction will include a new headquarters building next to the central warehouse facility on 100 Hooker Road in Carlsborg and an expansion of the operations center off Carlsborg Road for the engineering department.

The new headquarters and engineering shop is slated to take the place of the PUD’s Port Angeles office and water maintenance shop, which would be put up for sale.

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Reporter Jeremy Schwartz can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 5074, or at jschwartz@peninsuladailynews.com.

Last modified: November 19. 2013 5:47PM
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