PUD Analyzing New BPA Rates; Increase Coming

Last week, the Bonneville Power Administration (BPA) announced rate increases for wholesale electricity. Mason County PUD 3 officials are analyzing those increases to determine when to make the increase to ratepayers and how much that increase will be.

According to Matt Samuelson, power supply manager, effective October 1, wholesale electricity prices from BPA will go up an average of 7.1 percent, while energy transmission charges will increase 4.4 percent.

Annette Creekpaum, PUD 3’s manager, said that BPA’s rationale for the rate increases are based on operations and maintenance of aging infrastructure, fish and wildlife costs, transmission system upgrades and construction, the loss of industrial loads, and debt management.

Staff will be working with the commission to determine the timing and amount of such an increase as there are other factors that will impact rates.

As mentioned this is the third consecutive and significant hike in BPA’s wholesale rates. The federal power marketing agency implemented a 9 percent power rate increase in 2013, and a 7.8 percent increase in 2011.

Scott Corwin, Public Power Council executive director, said in a news release issued to PUD 3 that his group is concerned about the situation. “This is a significant increase in wholesale power rates on top of large increases in the prior three rate periods. Seeing this increase in costs every other year is a notable hit to utilities and the consumers they serve in the region.”

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