PUD Board votes not to issue rate increase in April

The Grays Harbor Public Utility Board of Commissioners voted not to issue a rate increase.

According to the PUD, the Commissioners made the vote on Monday to forego the budgeted increase, which was scheduled to begin on April 1st.

 “I am so pleased that the PUD is able to take this step and avoid a rate adjustment this year,” said Board President Jon Martin.  “While the utility had to plan for a possible increase as part of a responsible budget process, it was always my hope that the conditions would allow the utility to make adjustments without asking for more from our customers.  Thanks to some strong work by our staff and favorable conditions, we are able to do that.” 

The 2% increase had been budgeted to account for rising power costs and other impacts. The PUD says that the change would have increased PUD revenue by $1.1-million in 2022.  The PUD adds that a report presented to the board indicated that environmental changes and a strong close to 2021 allow the utility to absorb additional costs without passing those higher rates onto customers.

“This is why we wait to actually implement an increase until after the winter,” said Board Vice President Arie Callaghan.  “We plan for the worst and hope for the best and that allows our staff to look at our finances and the weather and make the best informed decision possible.” 

As the Grays Harbor community enters its third year of impacts from COVID-19, board members were well aware of the impact any increase could have on customer budgets. 

“We know that many customers are just getting back on their feet or still dealing with the impacts of COVID,” said Board Secretary Dave Timmons.  “Whether you’re a home or a business owner, the slightest change to your monthly expenses can have a big impact.  I hope this can provide a little stability and relief for our customers.”