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State utility staff reach settlement in Puget Sound Energy’s natural gas rate request
Jan. 31, 2011
Docket Number: UG-101644
Editor’s note: This news release reflects the position of energy staff of the Washington Utilities and Transportation Commission (UTC) and NOT the views of the three-member commission. It discusses a staff settlement agreement that the commissioners have not yet reviewed. Any positions taken or comments offered by the commission staff regarding this proceeding should be attributed clearly to staff members and NOT to the UTC.
OLYMPIA, Wash. – Puget Sound Energy (PSE) reached an agreement with staff members of the Washington Utilities and Transportation Commission (UTC) and others on a proposed settlement of its request to increase natural gas rates in Washington.
The proposed all-party settlement now goes before the three-member commission, which will make a final decision on the utility’s rate-increase request. The commission is not bound by the staff recommendation.
Under the terms of the settlement agreement, PSE’s natural gas revenues would increase by an additional $19 million a year, or an overall 1.8 percent, down from the $24 million, or 2.3 percent, the company asked for in its initial request last fall. The agreement calls for an April 1 effective date.
For an average residential natural gas customer using 68 therms a month, the increase would be 2 percent, or $1.68, for a revised bill of $84.65. The settlement agreement proposes no change to the basic service charge for residential natural gas customers, which would remain at $10 a month. The company had originally asked to increase the fee to $10.62 a month.
PSE customers will be able to comment to state regulators on the proposed settlement agreement at a public meeting scheduled at 1:30 p.m. Tuesday, March 1 in the second-floor hearing room of the commission’s headquarters, Richard Hemstad Building, 1300 S. Evergreen Pk. Dr. S.W., Olympia.
The commission has received 200 public comments to date on the PSE natural gas rate increase proposal – 193 opposed and 7 undecided. If customers are unable to attend the public meeting but would like to comment, they can mail their correspondence to: P.O. Box 47250 Olympia, Wash., 98504 or e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org or call toll-free 1-888-333-9882.The commission deadline for accepting public comments is March 3.
In addition to the UTC staff and the company, five other parties signed the settlement agreement. They include: Seattle Steam Co., Northwest Industrial Gas Users, Nucor Steel, The Energy Project and the Public Counsel Section of the Attorney General’s Office.
Bellevue-based Puget Sound Energy serves nearly 750,000 natural gas customers in parts of Snohomish, King, Pierce, Lewis, Thurston and Kittitas counties.
The UTC is the state agency that regulates private, investor-owned electric and natural gas utilities in Washington. It is the commission’s responsibility to ensure regulated companies provide safe and reliable service to customers at reasonable rates, while allowing them the opportunity to earn a fair profit.
Editor’s note: A copy of the settlement agreement is available at http://www.utc.wa.gov.
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