The Grays Harbor PUD Board of Commissioners have approved a resolution authorizing a 2% increase for its electrical customers, going into effect at the beginning of June. The increase was included in the 2021 budget which was passed last November, but was not enacted during the high energy usage winter months. In addition, the delay allowed the utility to complete its financial analysis for 2020 and the first months of 2021.
“The decision to raise rates is not one that the Board takes lightly and comes only after a detailed examination of the PUD’s financial state,” said PUD Board President Russ Skolrood. “With power purchases making up 70% of our budget, the two-percent increase recommended by utility staff is the lowest practical amount that will allow the PUD to cover those costs and continue the critical service our customers rely upon for their homes and businesses.”
“This is not a decision that we enjoy making and it is never an easy one,” said PUD Board Vice President Arie Callaghan. “But costs continue to rise and we have a responsibility to operate the utility in a safe and reliable manner.”
The increase will be the first rate adjustment by the utility in two years. The PUD Board chose not to increase rates in 2020 in response to the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. In addition, the utility delayed implementing the increase until the beginning of June, rather than the beginning of May as was originally scheduled.
“I am glad we were able to delay this increase until the spring and push it back by one month to June 1st,” said PUD Board Secretary Dave Timmons. “I understand that this will impact all our customers during an already difficult time, but small annual adjustments like these that cover increasing costs are the responsible way to go since they help the PUD cover costs and avoid making larger increases that can have a greater impact on our customer’s budgets.”
The utility’s system charge of $39.00 will not be increased. The charge is paid monthly by every PUD residential customer to cover system maintenance and repair, and is adjusted by recommendation of a cost of service study conducted by an independent, outside agency.