The Grays Harbor PUD tells KXRO that in the current 2023 budget process, budget increases are not being planned for customers next year.
Staff say that this is the first time that this has occurred in the memory of the current board of commissioners and senior staff.
According to the PUD, in a presentation to the Board of Commissioners this week, Finance Director Kathryn Skolrood revealed that PUD staff are recommending moving into the coming year without budgeting a rate increase.
“It’s a great position to be in,” said Board Vice President Arie Callaghan. “Our customers are dealing with rising costs in so many other areas. To tell them that their energy rates are going to remain where they are for the coming year is a great accomplishment.”
Skolrood and General Manager Schuyler Burkhart pointed to conservative budgeting over the past years, a projected cool and wet winter in 2023 and a strong financial showing in 2022 as the factors that have allowed the PUD to make those budget predictions.
In the event that those projections do not play out as expected, PUD staff are confident that adequate financial resources are available in existing utility revenues.
If approved, it would mark the third time in four years that the PUD has not increased customer rates.
In 2020 and 2022, the board approved a rate increase during the budget process, but elected not to implement the increase due to favorable weather, power usage and finances.
The budget process will continue with a presentation of the projected $123.1-million budget on October 3rd.
In following meetings, the board will be briefed on capital and departmental budgets, with a target date for a board vote and final approval of November 21st.