Improving financial conditions and a colder winter will allow the Grays Harbor PUD to implement a smaller-than-expected rate increase in 2019.
On Monday, Public Utilities District commissioners voted to adopt a 2.25 percent increase in customer rates, effective May 1. The commissioners had originally set a 2.5 percent increase, effective April 1, when they passed the 2019 budget last November.
“Not only were we able to delay the increase by one month, but for the second straight year, we were able to approve a smaller increase than we had budgeted for,” Commission President Russ Skolrood said. “Waiting until the spring avoids increasing rates during cold weather, high energy usage months and it allows the utility time to assess its financial state and have a better idea of what size the increase needs to be.”
Under the new rate schedule, an average customer bill, using 1,200-kilowatt hours per month, will see an increase of $2.67. The commissioners pointed to rising power costs of over a half-million dollars and a projected rate increase by the Bonneville Power Administration of 2.9 percent in the fall as the main reason for the increase.
“We know that when rates go up, it has a big impact on our customers,” Skolrood said. “Times are hard, and every dollar counts. That is why our staff has worked to contain and control internal costs, and we have worked with our partners at Bonneville, and in Olympia and Washington D.C. to keep power costs as low as they can practically be.”