PORT TOWNSEND — Jefferson County Public Utility District No. 1 is raising its rates for pole attachment fees, increasing them to the highest allowable rates in 2025.
Pole attachment fees are costs the PUD charges to commercial services such as phone and internet companies that attach their equipment to the utility’s poles.
PUD commissioners voted unanimously last week to increase the attachment from the current $22.45 to $28 in 2024 and then to $32 — the highest allowable rate under a state formula — in 2025.
District 3 Commissioner Dan Toepper suggested raising the rate to $32 in 2024 rather than waiting a year, but his motion failed to get a second.
“Eleven years into this and we’ve never charged the allowable amount,” Toepper said, referring to the time the PUD has operated as an independent utility. “So for all intents and purposes, our customers have been subsidizing entities or businesses for the maintenance of our pole infrastructure.”
PUD spokesperson Jameson Hawn said that since the utility has been building out its new broadband internet system, staff have been able to conduct a more accurate survey of pole connections. The utility also hired FCS Group of Redmond to conduct a study and analysis of attachment rates that was presented to commissioners last month.
Jefferson PUD’s previous rate of $22.45 was below that of neighboring Clallam County, $25.19, and the new $32 rate would exceed that of Chelan County and Mason County PUD No. 3 at $27, FCS found.
The 2024 increase went into effect Feb. 1 and the $32 rate will go into effect Jan. 1, 2025.
Reporter Peter Segall can be reached at email@example.com.