Updated Puget Sound Energy rates took effect Nov. 1

November 2, 2010

Slight changes to Puget Sound Energy electricity and natural gas rates took effect Nov. 1. State regulators announced the rate changes Oct. 28.

The state Utilities and Transportation Commission approved PSE’s request to pass natural gas costs to customers. The increase of about 2 percent translates to about $1.50 for residential customers using 68 therms per month.

In separate actions, regulators took steps to decrease electricity rates for PSE customers. The average residential customer using 1,000 kilowatt-hours of electricity per month should see his or her bill decrease by 2.63 percent from November through March — or $1.65, down from $99.68 to $98.03 per month.

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 rates change Monday

October 28, 2010

NEW — 3:15 p.m. Oct. 28, 2010

Slight changes to Puget Sound Energy electricity and natural gas rates take effect Monday.

The state Utilities and Transportation Commission approved PSE’s request to pass through natural gas costs to customers. The increase of about 2 percent translates to about $1.50 for residential customers using 68 therms per month.

The commission announced the change Thursday.

In separate actions, regulators took steps to decrease electricity rates for PSE customers. The average residential customer using 1,000 kilowatt-hours of electricity per month should see his or her bill decrease by 2.63 percent from November through March — or $1.65, down from $99.68 to $98.03 per month.

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State fines PSE for mishandling accounts

October 19, 2010

State regulators fined Puget Sound Energy $104,300 last week for improperly handling accounts of customers — including many low-income customers — disconnected for nonpayment.

The state Utilities and Transportation Commission assessed the penalty for 1,043 violations of state consumer protection rules — including 965 related to the disconnected accounts.

Commission staffers said Bellevue-based PSE provided inaccurate or misleading information to customers about how much they must pay in order to reconnect electric or natural gas services.

The commission also penalized PSE for improperly applying energy assistance pledge funds made to low-income customers’ accounts. The pledges had been intended to help consumers keep lights and heat on during the winter.

Commission staffers cited PSE for applying pledge funds to a prior balance, causing additional disconnection threats for customers.

The commission launched the investigation after a routine audit of consumer complaints. The investigation discovered PSE continued to misapply state refusal-of-service rules, despite instructions from regulators.

PSE must either pay the entire penalty, request a hearing to challenge the violations or request that the penalty to be reduced.

PSE serves more than 1 million electric customers and about 750,000 natural gas customers, including Issaquah residents.

PSE seeks to raise electric, natural gas rates

October 5, 2010

Puget Sound Energy has requested rate adjustments for natural gas and electric service.

The utility filed separate requests with the state Utilities and Transportation Commission to reduce credits for customer bills and a rate increase to help operate and maintain the natural gas system.

The credit adjustments should result in a slight rate increase — less than $2 per month on the average residential natural gas bill and less than $1 per month on the average residential electric bill. If the state approves the changes, the increases takes effect Nov. 1. PSE does not stand to make a profit on the adjustments.

The rate request aims to increase natural gas rates by 2.3 percent, effective Feb. 1. If the state approves the increase after a review, the change should increase a typical natural gas bill — based on 68 therms of average monthly usage during a year — by $2.08.

The credit adjustments include a Purchased Gas Adjustment increase, and a 1 percent increase in residential electric rates. The other involves a decrease in the federal power benefits passed through to PSE customers as a monthly bill credit under the Residential Exchange Program through the Bonneville Power Administration.

PSE plans minor increases to gas and electric rates

September 14, 2010

Puget Sound Energy intends to make small increases to electric and natural gas rates Oct. 1 in order to adjust for costs of the utility’s low-income assistance program.

The utility made a request late last month to the state Utilities and Transportation Commission to approve the increases.

The request filed Aug. 31 aims to increase electric rates by an overall average of 0.004 percent — or 4/1000th of 1 percent — and natural gas rates by 0.03 percent — or 3/100th of 1 percent. The commission is expected to review the proposal Sept. 30.

The adjustment reflects the differences between the costs and the revenues collected during the past year to fund the Home Energy Lifeline Program, or HELP, and a small increase in total funding.

If the state approves the increases, a typical monthly electricity bill — based on 1,000 kilowatt-hours of electricity — is projected to increase by 4 cents per month, bringing the total monthly average electric bill to $99.68.

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City Council OKs trash pickup contract

April 27, 2010

Greenwood Point and South Cove residents will soon pay a few cents more — less than $1 in most cases — for trash-collection service.

City Council members OK’d a contract with garbage hauler Allied Waste last week. The deal allows for reductions in garbage-cart rental fees, additional options for yard-waste service, curbside electronics recycling and universal garbage carts, or standardized carts meant to make trash pickup more efficient.

“This is a pretty good deal to get the contract renewed with Allied Waste, and I think for the residents in the area that this is going to affect, it’s definitely a good bargain,” Councilman Joshua Schaer said April 19, before the unanimous decision.

The contract takes effect May 1, and runs through February 2016.

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Electricity, gas rates to climb

April 6, 2010

Puget Sound Energy customers will see electric and natural gas rates nudge upward soon.

The state Utilities and Transportation Commission approved a rate increase for the utility April 2. The decision allows the Bellevue-based company to raise electric rates by about 2.8 percent and natural gas prices by 0.8 percent.

Officials expected the new rates to take effect on or about April 7.

The average PSE residential electric customer using 1,000 kilowatt-hours a month will see a hike of about $2.80. The average natural-gas customer using 70 therms a month will pay about 87 cents more.

The commission also approved charges last week to fund conservation programs. The totals for the PSE programs amount to $1.78 more a month for residential electric customers and 45 cents extra for natural gas customers.

Including both increases, the monthly bill will rise to about $97 for electric and $80 for natural gas service for the average residential customer. Read more

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