State regulators recommend smaller PSE rate increases

December 13, 2011

Puget Sound Energy is seeking to raise electric and gas rates next year, but state regulatory staffers recommended for the utility to only raise rates by a fraction of the amount PSE requested.

In testimony filed Dec. 7, Utilities and Transportation Commission staffers recommended for PSE to be allowed to raise electric rates by $39 million a year and $1.5 million for natural gas rates.

In June, PSE requested raising electric rates by $152 million and natural gas rates by $30 million.

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State agency reminds people to check out movers

October 4, 2011

The state Utilities and Transportation Commission reminds people planning in-state moves to check up on movers beforehand.

Many moving companies falsely advertise as “licensed and insured” — but only in-state moving companies permitted by the commission, a watchdog agency, can make legal moves. Customers hiring illegal companies typically have little or no recourse if movers damage, lose or steal belongings.

Before a customer packs a box, he or she should call the commission and confirm the company’s permit is valid. The caller can also find out about any consumer complaints filed against the company.

The commission offers information and tips for a safe move at www.utc.wa.gov/movingtips.

The commission conducts regular investigations to ensure in-state moving companies secure the proper permits and insurance, and meet state consumer and safety laws. Numerous state laws and rules protect consumers of in-state moving companies.

The commission conducts regular safety inspections on equipment and trucks used by permitted companies. State laws also require companies to conduct background checks and drug testing of potential employees.

The commission does not regulate interstate moving companies.

 

Aug. 11 offers numerical reminder to call 811 before digging

August 10, 2011

NEW — 4 p.m. Aug. 10, 2011

Puget Sound Energy and the state Utilities and Transportation Commission plan to use Thursday — Aug. 11, or 8/11 — as a reminder to call 811 before digging.

Call the free hotline prior to any digging project to have underground utility lines marked for free. Scheduling the utility locator service helps keep people safe and prevents damage to underground utility lines before projects involving digging, excavating or planting.

Striking a single line can cause injuries, damages, fines and outages. The depth of utility lines can vary for a number of reasons, such as erosion, previous landscaping and uneven surfaces. The risk of striking an underground utility line exists anytime a digging project is started.

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Puget Sound Energy seeks 2012 rate increases

June 21, 2011

Puget Sound Energy filed a proposal June 13 to increase electric and natural gas rates in 2012.

The utility is asking state regulators for rate increases to offset the costs of work to increase electric and gas delivery system reliability, as well as efforts to provide a cleaner energy supply.

The proposal calls for electric rates to increase 8.1 percent and natural gas rates to climb 3 percent for all customer groups. The average homeowner could expect to pay $8.37 more per month for electric service, based on 1,000 kilowatt-hours, and $2.84 more per month for natural gas, based on 68 therms per month.

The state Utilities and Transportation Commission is reviewing the proposal. If approved, the rates could take effect in May 2012.

The rate request is based on energy system improvements made in 2009 and last year, as PSE invested almost $1.1 billion in gas and electric delivery infrastructure and new electric-generation facilities.

Bellevue-based PSE serves more than 1 million electric customers and almost 750,000 natural gas customers in Western Washington, including Issaquah.

Puget Sound Energy seeks 2012 rate increases

June 14, 2011

NEW — 2 p.m. June 14, 2011

Puget Sound Energy filed a proposal Monday to increase electric and natural gas rates in 2012.

The utility is asking state regulators for rate increases to offset the costs of work to increase electric and gas delivery system reliability, as well as efforts to provide a cleaner energy supply.

The proposal calls for electric rates to increase 8.1 percent and natural gas rates to climb 3 percent for all customer groups. The average homeowner could expect to pay $8.37 more per month for electric service, based on 1,000 kilowatt-hours, and $2.84 more per month for natural gas, based on 68 therms per month.

The state Utilities and Transportation Commission is reviewing the proposal. If approved, the rates could take effect in May 2012.

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Call before digging to avoid utility lines

April 12, 2011

The state Utilities and Transportation Commission reminds people to call 811 before digging to build a fence or deck, plant trees and shrubs, or pull out a tree stump.

April is National Safe Digging Month.

Washington residents should call 811 and obtain a free utility locator service at least two business days before digging. Call the UTC Consumer Help Line at 888-333-9882 toll free if the utility locator is late, incomplete or inaccurate.

The state recorded almost 1,400 damage incidents last year due to individuals damaging gas pipelines. The proper marking of underground utilities can reduce the risk of striking a line, causing outages, damages and deaths.

PSE hikes natural gas rate for residential customers

March 22, 2011

Puget Sound Energy residential natural gas customers should start paying about $1.68 more per month starting April 1.

State regulators approved the increase March 15, as part of a settlement to allow PSE to increase natural gas revenues by $19 million a year, or 1.8 percent.

For the average residential natural gas customer using 68 therms a month, the increase should amount to $1.68, for a revised bill of $84.65.

The agreement does not change the $10-per-month basic service charge for residential natural gas customers. PSE had originally asked to increase the fee to $10.62 per month.

The commission received 254 public comments about the proposal — 241 opposed to the change, and 13 undecided or neutral.

Bellevue-based PSE serves more than 1 million electric customers and almost 750,000 natural gas customers in Western Washington, including Issaquah.

PSE hikes natural gas rate for residential customers

March 21, 2011

NEW — 8 a.m. March 21, 2011

Puget Sound Energy residential natural gas customers should start paying about $1.68 more per month starting April 1.

State regulators approved the increase March 15, as part of a settlement to allow PSE to increase natural gas revenues by $19 million a year, or 1.8 percent.

For the average residential natural gas customer using 68 therms a month, the increase should amount to $1.68, for a revised bill of $84.65.

The agreement does not change the $10-per-month basic service charge for residential natural gas customers. PSE had originally asked to increase the fee to $10.62 per month.

The commission received 254 public comments on the proposal — 241 opposed to the change, and 13 undecided or neutral.

Bellevue-based PSE serves more than 1 million electric customers and almost 750,000 natural gas customers in Western Washington, including Issaquah.

 

PSE natural gas rates could increase April 1

February 22, 2011

Puget Sound Energy, state Utilities and Transportation Commission staff members and others have reached a tentative agreement to allow PSE to increase natural gas rates.

The average residential natural gas customer using 68 therms a month should experience a 2 percent increase, or $1.68, for a revised bill of $84.65. The settlement agreement proposes no change to the $10-per-month basic service charge for residential natural gas customers. PSE had originally asked to increase the fee to $10.62 per month.

The agreement calls for the rates to go into effect April 1, if commissioners approve the proposed pact.

The tentative settlement heads to the three-member regulatory commission. The commission is not bound by the staff recommendation to accept the agreement.

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PSE customers to receive a renewable energy credit

January 1, 2011

NEW — 8 a.m. Jan. 1, 2011

Puget Sound Energy customers start to receive a small credit on monthly bills in January, because the utility has received a renewable energy tax grant for generating wind power.

The state Utilities and Transportation Commission allowed PSE to credit customers $8.8 million after the company received a grant from the U.S. Treasury Department for building wind-generating facilities.

The average residential customer using 1,000 kilowatt-hours of electricity per month should see a monthly credit of 44 cents for a total credit of about $5 in 2011. The credit is to be adjusted annually based on the Treasury grant balance and is to remain in place until 2021.

PSE received the federal grant for expanding the Wild Horse wind project outside of Ellensburg.

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