Source: David Gutman, Seattle Times, October 24, 2019
Puget Sound Energy wants to increase natural-gas bills by 14%, about $8 a month for a typical customer and the latest in a slew of rate increases from local utilities.
The utility is adjusting its rates to reflect wholesale natural-gas prices over the past year, which were higher than previously projected. An unusually cold and stormy winter led to a spike in demand for natural gas, while a pipeline explosion in British Columbia last year led to decreased supply, Puget Sound Energy (PSE) said.
“It definitely was a factor that was not foreseen,” said Jarrett Tomalin, PSE’s customer communications manager.
The changes would put the monthly gas bill for a typical residential customer at about $68, up from about $60.
Seattle City Light, which provides electric service, plans on raising its rates an average of 4.5% each year through 2024. And Seattle Public Utilities, responsible for water, sewer and garbage, is in the midst of a six-year plan that calls for average annual rate increases of 5.2%.
PSE’s proposed changes have to be approved by the Washington Utilities and Transportation Commission (UTC), which will meet Thursday to consider the rate hikes.