OLYMPIA, Wash. — A limited-time credit that lowered electric bills for 132,000 Pacific Power customers in Washington for 12 months is now ending. The company made filings today acknowledging the expiration and resuming normal charges Nov. 1, if approved by the Washington Utilities and Transportation Commission.
“We know that as heating season begins in the Northwest, people begin to focus on how to manage their energy usage and costs,” said Lori Froehlich, regional business manager. “The credit that began Nov. 1, 2018 was a way to pass on savings we achieved by meeting our customers’ energy needs with lower-than-forecasted energy costs. We always want to pass on savings whether it is through limited-time credits or operational improvements such as increasing the efficiency of our wind turbines or forging new partnerships with other regional power companies to better utilize low cost renewable power. Last year, we were pleased to pass through federal tax savings to customers as well.”
The expiration of the limited-time credit means bills will go up about 5 percent starting Nov. 1. The average residential customer using 1,200 kilowatt hours per month will see a bill impact of $5.88 per month.
“As customers step into the heating season, we want to remind them of the resources we have to help them manage their energy usage and budget,” added Froehlich. “We offer programs to help our customers’ average out their bills so it is easier to budget. Some customers may seek help insulating their homes or otherwise reducing their energy use. And customers may also seek direct assistance.”
When the credit went into effect, Pacific Power and the commission communicated its limited-time nature. The credit came about as part of the company’s long term commitment to meet the energy needs of our Washington customers, which requires Pacific Power to predict energy demand and buy power to meet those needs while also protecting customers from energy price fluctuations that can happen on a daily basis.
In Washington, Pacific Power and state regulators work together to track energy fuel costs and make sure that customers get the benefit of the most cost-effective energy. This is called the PCAM which stands for Power Cost Adjustment Mechanism.
The mechanism tracks Pacific Power’s actual power costs, which include fuel costs and purchase power cost. The actual costs are compared to projected costs that customers pay for power. Each year, actual and estimated costs are trued up and the differences are shared between the company and customers.
If customers have any questions about their energy bill and how they can make it more manageable, they can contact our customer service team toll free 24 hours a day, seven days a week at 1-888-221-7070.