LONG BEACH — Starting with last month’s bill, Pacific County Public Utilities District customers have seen a rate increase. According to PUD, the typical residential customer (a user of 1,200 kiloWatt hours) is seeing a monthly bill increase from $98.64 to $102.92, a 4.3% increase. The increase took effect Oct. 1.
Another increase will follow on April 1, 2021, pushing the 1,200 kWh user’s bill to $104.92. The increases result from an increase in wholesale rates charged by the Bonneville Power Administration.
Earlier in the year, PUD had some hope that a rate increase would not be necessary. BPA, from which PUD purchases electricity, had announced a “net zero” rate increase. But rates vary for different utilities. “Net zero” did not mean zero for every utility, or even most.
“I don’t know of anybody getting net zero,” PUD director Jason Dunsmore said in September.
PUD is passing the BPA’s hike onto its customers. However, drawing on reserve funds allows it to phase in the rate increase, delaying the full effect until April 2021. BPA’s current rates took effect Oct. 1, 2019 and last through Sept. 30, 2021.
Customers’ bills will also look different in another way. Previously, state taxes were included in the hourly power rates, but now the bill will break these taxes out separately. This is partly to pre-empt the state legislature, which has considered requiring this change in recent sessions. PUD bills already broke out city taxes.