MYNORTHWEST NEWS

Puget Sound Energy rate hikes are about to hit customers

Apr 2, 2024, 12:04 PM | Updated: 12:05 pm

pse energy gas bill...

An example of a PSE bill. (Photo courtesy of PSE)

(Photo courtesy of PSE)

In a move that has sparked both debate and concern, Puget Sound Energy (PSE), the state’s largest provider of electricity and natural gas, is implementing rate increases that will impact its customers over the next two years.

PSE recently filed requests with the State Utilities and Transportation Commission (UTC) to raise electric and natural gas rates once again. Both rates will increase by less than one percent on May 1.

How it affects you

  • Electricity Customers: If you’re a typical residential electric customer using 800 kWh of energy per month, your monthly bill increased by $7.75 or 8.7% in 2023, resulting in an average bill of $96.65. In 2024, there will be an additional $1.67 or 1.7% increase, bringing your average monthly bill to $98.32.
  • Natural Gas Customers: For residential natural gas customers using 64 therms per month, in 2023, your monthly bill went up by $4.87 or 6.4%, with an average monthly bill of $80.56. In 2024, expect an additional $1.34 or 1.7% increase, resulting in an average monthly bill of $81.90.

Related news: New bill demands transparency for Puget Sound Energy customers

Why the increase?

PSE attributes the rate hikes to a combination of factors:

The company said wholesale gas prices have been climbing steadily, impacting both electricity and natural gas bills. It also said PSE is starting to align with state goals by investing in cleaner energy sources and continued investments are necessary to maintain a reliable energy grid.

The settlement agreements

In December 2022, the UTC) approved a settlement between PSE and other parties. The UTC approved three settlement agreements, establishing a multi-year rate plan for PSE. These settlements address various aspects.
One aspect is revenue requirements as PSE must improve low-income assistance, address overdue bills and enhance conservation incentives. Another is environmental investments like electric vehicle charging, decarbonization research, and electric heat pump programs. Also, pandemic relief, including a partial write-off of certain pandemic-related costs.

The settlement also requires PSE to return $34.6 million in over-collected taxes to customers.

Other news: Could Puget Sound Energy customers soon lose access to natural gas service?

How can you lower your energy bills?

PSE says to not wait to insulate. Insulation and air sealing can help keep your home cool in the summer and lower your heating bill by as much as 8% during colder months. You can also lower the thermostat to higher savings. Also, save buckets by using less hot water. Lastly, check your filters. Dusty filters can lead to your air conditioning/heating systems running inefficiently.

What’s Next?

The new rates take effect on May 1, 2024. So, customers are encouraged to stay informed. For more details, visit PSE’s Rates News & Filings page.

Bill Kaczaraba is a content editor at MyNorthwest. You can read his stories here. Follow Bill on X, formerly known as Twitter, here and email him here

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