New tax cuts hit utilities

— Washington state utility regulators have directed regulated companies to track federal tax savings resulting from the passage of the federal Tax Cut and Jobs Act to ensure those savings will benefit utility customers.

The 2017 federal tax overhaul reduced corporate tax rate from 35 percent to 21 percent. State law authorizes the state Utilities and Transportation Commission to determine how much profit regulated energy, telecom, and water companies can earn and what rates those companies can charge their customers.

Customers will not see immediate bill credits or reduced rates. The utilities expected tax savings must be determined and reconciled with commission-set revenue requirements during the regular tariff and rate case filings.

Currently Avista and Cascade Natural Gas have rate cases pending before the commissions. Puget Sound Energy, Pacific Power and Light, and Northwest Natural Gas have already filed petitions with the commission outlining potential changes.


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