PSE power bills may drop for Whatcom County residents


Puget Sound Energy is asking state regulators to approve a plan that would lower the average household's power bill by nearly $6 per month.

The reduction would be in effect from June 2014 through May 2015 if the Washington Utilities and Transportation Commission approves. PSE residential customers using an average of 1,000 kilowatt hours of electricity a month would see a drop of $5.89, which would take the average monthly bill from about $99 down to roughly $93.

As a power utility regulated under state law, PSE can't move its rates up or down without the approval of the state commission.

The savings to customers comes from about $63 million paid to PSE by the Bonneville Power Administration under a system known as the federal energy exchange credit. The credit enables privately owned PSE's residential and small-farm customers to share in the benefits of the low-cost federal power generated by the BPA's dams on the Columbia River. Most of that power goes to public utility systems that operate in many areas of the Northwest, including Blaine and Sumas in Whatcom County.

PSE customers have received those benefits since 1981, under the terms of the Northwest Power Act.

Bellevue-based PSE supplies electric power to all Whatcom County households outside of Blaine or Sumas.

Reach John Stark at 360-715-2274 or . Read the Politics Blog at or get updates on Twitter at @bhampolitics.

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