The Attorney General's Public Counsel Section, which represents the public in utility rate cases, wants Pacific Power customers to tell state decision-makers what they think about the company's proposal to raise rates.
Portland-based Pacific Power wants to raise rates for its more than 125,000 customers in central and southeast Washington. Monthly bills now arriving in the mail will include a notice with details of the proposed rate increase, as well as a detachable, pre-addressed comment form for customers to share their opinions with state regulators. Customers also have the chance to speak out during a public hearing this fall in Yakima.
In February 2008, Pacific Power filed a request with the state Utilities and Transportation Commission to take in an additional $37.4 million in revenues from Washington electric customers. The commission is expected to make the final decision on the rate increase in January 2009. If approved, residential customers would see a 15 percent increase to their monthly electric bills. A typical customer now paying $85.11 would see bills climb to $98.14.
The monthly basic charge, which all customers pay regardless of usage, would increase by a third from $5.25 to $7. Pacific Power is also asking to raise fees and charges for various services, such as the field visit and reconnection charge.
"Escalating energy costs place a real burden on family and small business budgets," Public Counsel Section Chief Simon Fitch said. "We are concerned that Pacific Power's requested revenue increase equates to a dramatic hike in customer rates."
Pacific Power customers have the opportunity to comment to the Utilities and Transportation Commision in person at a public hearing in Yakima on Thursday, Sept. 25, at 5 p.m. in Yakima County Courthouse Commissioners Hearing Room No. B-33 in Yakima.
Customers can also submit comments via e-mail at email@example.com, online at www.wutc.wa.gov/comment or call toll-free 1-800-562-6150. Details about the company's proposed rate changes are online at www.wutc.wa.gov. Enter docket no. U-072375.