Snohomish County Public Utility Department Board of Commissioners has released a statement confirming that there will be no rate hike in 2019, crediting internal cost control measures and “stronger than expected financial results” from the year prior.
This is a deferment of the predicted increase, which will be reassessed later to decide if a rate adjustment in 2020 will be appropriate.
From the SnoCo PUD Media Desk, see below for the full press release.
The original 2019 budget created in mid-2018 indicated the need for a 2.9% general rate increase. In December, the Board approved the utility’s 2019 budget, which included a modest 1.3% rate increase that was to go into effect in April. The decision to defer a general increase was based on stronger than expected financial results in 2018 and internal cost control measures.
“PUD employees have worked hard to minimize costs and maximize efficiency over the past year and the results are evident in the Board’s latest decision to have no rate increases this year,” said Snohomish PUD CEO/General Manager John Haarlow.
Further review of the 2019 budget, which includes a $665 million operating budget for the PUD’s electric system, showed stronger than forecasted financial performance from increased energy sales in 2018, additional transmission capacity sales, higher investment income and realization of many cost cutting measures.
A focus on controlling internal operating costs saved the PUD millions of dollars in recent years, including limiting new hiring, realizing lower medical benefit premiums, and use of fewer external consultants and reduced employee travel.
As a not-for-profit utility, the PUD’s rates are set to cover its cost of doing business. That includes money for public benefits, including fish and wildlife programs, infrastructure and reliability capital projects, and reinvesting money in the community through energy efficiency efforts and energy assistance programs that help those in need.
Along with smart fiscal management, the PUD continues to work toward a promising future of energizing life in the communities it serves. Rates allow for analysis and development of electric vehicles, community solar, optimizing the electrical grid with proven technologies and increasing options for how its customers do business with the utility.