- Staff of the Washington Utilities and Transportation Commission and a range of parties have reached a multi-party settlement on Puget Sound Energy’s request to increase electric rates and decrease natural gas rates, suggesting a 1% increase to power rates and a 4% reduction in gas rates.
- The settlement also allows PSE to recover the remaining costs associated with its stake in the Colstrip coal plant in Montana, sets aside funds to shutter two units in the coal facility and provide $2 million for weatherization assistance for low-income customers.
- A hearing on the proposal will be held Sept. 29; specific rates for residential, commercial, and industrial customers will be decided by the UTC.
The PSE rate settlement includes a wide range of parties, including the utility, staff of the UTC, Industrial Customers of Northwest Utilities, Northwest Industrial Gas Users, Sierra Club and several others.
The agreement calls for an effective date of Dec. 13, with a hearing on the settlement to be held Sept. 29. According to a statement issued by the UTC, the utility and other parties have agreed to engage stakeholders in workshops to review the future use of the transmission lines that currently carry Colstrip’s electric load.
Last year, PSE and Talen Energy, owners of the Colstrip coal-fired facility in Montana, reached an agreement to close the facility's two oldest units by July 2022.
Under the new settlement, PSE would repurpose $95 million in federal treasury grants to an account dedicated to funding the decommissioning and remediation of Colstrip Units 1 and 2. The settlement also allocates up to $300 million in monetized tax credits to fund unrecovered costs associated with Units 1, 2, 3, and 4. And PSE agreed to set aside $10 million to fund community development in Colstrip, Mont.
Earlier this year, PSE filed a general rate case requesting an annual $87 million or 4.1% rate increase for electric customers, and a 2.4% overall rate decrease for natural gas customers.