Clallam County Public Utility District customers will see a decrease in their electric bills next year due to good financial predictions from Bonneville Power Administration.
Clallam County PUD Commissioners voted on Sept. 26 to cancel its previously approved budgeted rate increase for the coming year and instead approved a 1 percent decrease in all kilowatt (kWh) rate classes.
Additionally the PUD approved a zero percent change to base charges effective in April.
"We initially thought it was going to be a half-a-percent decrease, then we found out we were getting more back from the BPA and that's on the energy usage rate and then there is no increase for the basic charge," said Nicole Hartman, communications manager for the PUD.
The average residential Clallam PUD customer currently pays just over $133 a month for electricity. That includes the base rate which is $40.50 per month with an additional 77 cents per kilowatt hour of energy used.
The 1 percent rate decrease will impact that energy usage cost.
If the average household uses about 1,200 kWh per month, that works out to about $93.36.
A 1 percent decrease brings that cost down to $92.43, saving customers about 93 cents a month.
This is possible due to the BPA exceeding its cash-on-hand reserves threshold of $600 million, which has resulted in rate relief for preferred BPA customers, of which Clallam County is one.
In addition to canceling its previously budgeted increases, PUD commissioners requested that staff bring forward a resolution that would suspend current transformer capacity charges for customers who are building new homes and beginning the process of connecting to utilities in the county.
Transformer capacity charges are the rates users pay to connect to the power grid for a home.
"When you are adding a new home to a neighborhood and the area already has so many homes on the transformer, there may be a charge for you to join that system," Hartman said.
Hartman added that anyone who has paid into that system this year will be getting refunds of up to $1,200 and that charge will be waived up to Sept. 30, 2023.
"The letter to customers will read 'PUD Commissioners would like to inform you that you will be receiving a refund for the transformer capacity connect charge that was assessed on your new service connection," Hartman said.
General Manager Sean Worthington credited this decision to the PUD keeping in line with its strategic plan, good financial management, internal controls and of course being a preferred customer of the BPA.