18% PSE Electric Rate Increase Starting May 2020
Customers who get electricity through Puget Sound Energy will see an 18% rate increase on second tier power starting May 2020. Second tier power is all delivered power beyond the 600kWh/month base rate, which is not changing. The average PSE customer uses over 1000kWh/month. For the typical residential PSE customer, that translates to about $5.50/ month for low users and $28.50/month for higher electric users.
PSE serves over 1 million electric customers in Thurston, Lewis, King, Kittitas, Pierce, and Snohomish counties, with the majority of their power coming from fossil fuels.
Natural Gas customers will also see an overall average of 7.52% increase. These increases will result in an addition $205 million in revenue for PSE.
PSE is attributing these rate increases to the following:
- Investments in technology systems such as self-service tools that allow customers to interact with PSE at their convenience.
- Accommodate increasing levels of residential solar, battery storage and electric vehicles with electric infrastructure investments, cost recovery of electric depreciation expenses.
- Improved reliability with natural gas infrastructure investments, cost recovery of natural gas depreciation expenses.
The 2020 rate increase is also tied to an increase in wholesale prices following an October 2018 pipeline rupture near Prince George, British Columbia. The Enbridge pipeline serves markets in Canada, Washington, Oregon and Idaho, and the rupture caused capacity delays.
Other reasons for the rate increase include the controversial and climate-devastating expansion of the Tacoma LNG project. Although less than 2% of this infrastructure is designed for residential customers, PSE plans to generate 43% of its construction costs through residential utility rate increases.
Double digit rate increases are being forecasted as the new norm for PSE as it struggles to comply with Washington State’s Clean Energy Transformation Act. The bill requires PSE to remove coal from their energy fuel mix by 2025, and replace that coal with 100% clean energy. PSE’s energy infrastructure improvements is being paid for through increased consumer utility prices.
For more information on the effect of the proposed changes on other types of electric and natural gas services, visit pse.com/ratecase.
Puget Sound Energy 2018 Electricity Fuel Mix
PSE recently released their most current Electricity Fuel Mix. The results show that the largest percentage of energy generated is from coal sources, and 56% of their generated energy comes from fossil fuels.
According to their most recent 20-year plan, PSE intends to expand their natural gas infrastructure while largely ignoring the potential of solar, wind and grid optimization. Natural gas is created from methane, sourced from fracking, which causes severe health complications, groundwater contamination, earthquakes near extraction sites and if often located near or on indigenous land.
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