The Grays Harbor Public Utility Board of Commissioners approved a 7% rate increase effective February 1, 2011. Over half of the increase would be used to cover the rising cost of renewable resources and conservation needed to meet voter-approved mandates under the Energy Independence Act, as well as a small portion to cover anticipated increased costs in 2011 for power purchased from the Bonneville Power Administration.
The BPA rate increase would take effect October 1, 2011. BPA is currently proposing an 8.5% increase which, if approved at that level, would mean an additional cost to Grays Harbor PUD of about $800,000 for the last quarter of 2011. Once a final BPA rate is determined this summer, the PUD will evaluate the need for an additional rate adjustment.
The remaining funds would be set aside to fund future capital improvement projects to reduce the PUD’s long term debt.
For the average residential customer, the rate increase will result in an increase of $6.63 on their monthly bill.
While power supply costs are on the rise, Liz Anderson of the PUD assures KXRO that they will continue to reduce internal spending through cost-savings measures by about 10% in 2011. The cost savings include continuation of staffing reductions through attrition, reductions in travel and training and reductions in tree trimming and pole treatment and testing.