TPU halts electric rate increases for 3 months. Here’s what that means for your bill

Source: Allison Needles, The News Tribune, April 2, 2020

Tacoma Public Utilities has delayed a 2 percent increase to customers’ power bills in the face of the coronavirus outbreak.

The TPU board passed a resolution Tuesday that delays the rate increase by three months. The increase will go into effect July 1 instead of April 1.

“We believe it’s the right thing to do for our customers and community at this time,” Tacoma Power superintendent Chris Robinson said at a Tacoma City Council meeting on Tuesday.

The increase translates to roughly 84 cents per month, according to TPU.

The move will cause a loss in revenue to TPU of about $1.8 million. That money will be made up through TPU’s reserve fund.

“I know it will put a wrinkle in the budget — probably more than just a wrinkle, but … it’s the right thing to do at this time,” Tacoma Mayor Victoria Woodards said Tuesday.

The decision to increase power rates was made in October 2018 in response to an expected revenue loss of $21 million if rates were not increased.

TPU will reassess the rate increase when it gets closer to July 1.

“What we’re doing now is really creating a shock absorber to contribute to helping everyone who’s lost wages and had financial impacts from this situation to be able to deal with that,” TPU board member Bryan Flint said Tuesday.

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