The Okanogan County PUD is undergoing a rate study over the next several months to plan for the future financial needs of the district while keeping rates affordable and equitable.
FCS Group, a consulting company, will conduct the study, which will likely run through January 2020.
What is a rate study and why is the PUD conducting one?
The study will look at three areas:
- Equity management plan – determining the amount of annual revenue necessary to fund financial obligations and meet financial targets over a multi-year period;
- Cost of service – whether our different customer groups cover their actual cost of electrical service; and
- Rate design – how we might change the rates to be fair while keeping the District financially stable.
We do this study periodically to be sure that we are on a good financial track and that our electric rates are equitable (the last full study was in 2013).
Who is conducting the study?
FCS Group, a consulting agency, will conduct the study, providing a third-party objective view of the district’s rates and finances. You can learn more about the company at www.fcsgroup.com.
How will this impact my bill?
Right now, we have nine (9) customer groups or “classes” with different base charges and rates for service. The cost of service study will look at whether they are equitable and covering their own costs, and changes to rates will be made if deemed necessary. Rate changes could be recommended toward the end of the process, but the board of commissioners must make any final decision whether or not to change rates. The current classes are:
- Small general service
- Large general service
- Area lighting
- Street lighting
- Frost control
- New large single load
When will new rates go into effect?
If commissioners approve any rate changes, they would likely go into effect on April 1, 2020.
Where has the money gone from past increases?
There are several reasons for past increases:
1. We have an aging infrastructure system in need of upgrades and replacements that regular maintenance budgets cannot keep up with. Many projects are either completed, are underway or are in planning stages thanks to the additional revenue from rate increases.
2. The rates at which the PUD has to buy power have gone up, as well as supplies and other costs, and our rates to our customers must increase to meet our rising expenses.
How can I share my concerns?
- Contact your commissioner:
- Jerry Asmussen (north county), 486-1962 or firstname.lastname@example.org
- Bill Colyar (south county/Methow), 923-9233 or email@example.com
- Scott Vejraska (central county), 826-7088 or firstname.lastname@example.org
- Contact our staff:
- Community Relations Coordinator Sheila Corson, 422-8427, email@example.com.
- June/July - Incorporate staff and board information and feedback
- August - Equity management plan
- September - Cost of service study
- November - Draft results presented to the board
- January - Final results presented to the board