The SnoCo PUD Board of Commissioners approved the 2020 budget for their electric, water and generation systems December 17. During the process, they adopted the staff’s recommendation to forego a rate increase in in the next year on electric rates for the third year in a row.

The PUD’s residential electric rate will stay at 10.4 cents per kilowatt-hour (kWh), which is competitive with other Northwest electric utility rates and below the national average of 12.95 cents/kWh. 

“Bringing affordable power to our ratepayers is one of our key pillars at the PUD and I’m proud to say we are able to keep rates steady in 2020,” said PUD GM/CEO John Haarlow. “PUD employees continue to work hard to keep costs down and maximize efficiency.”

The 2020 budget includes a $650m operating budget for the PUD’s electric system, down just a bit from last year’s $665m.

From the PUD press release: “The 2020 budget provides for increased investment in capital funding to improve system reliability. The PUD’s capital expenditures budget will increase approximately $20 million from last year, with most money dedicated to improvements in the PUD’s electric distribution infrastructure through construction of new substations in Stanwood and Lynnwood, and the design and construction of a new community office in Arlington.

The PUD’s water customers will also see no rate increase in 2020. Despite the rising costs of purchasing water and operations and maintenance, the approved water system operating budget includes no plans to raise the retail rate next year. Capital improvement projects to the PUD’s Warm Beach system, Walker Hill reservoir and Lake Stevens treatment plant are included in the budget. “

Lastly, the board gave the greenlight to a plan to implement a pilot program for “time of day” rates for a select few commercial and industrial customers. The pilot includes a “nights and weekend” discount as well as corresponding peak rates. The information generated from the pilot/study will be used to determine how effective the time of day rate designs are at shifting electric usage during off peak hours combined with winter months usage, in an effort to ”alleviate short-term capacity needs.”

The PUD Board also approved a plan to implement a time-of-day rates pilot for select PUD commercial and industrial customers. The pilot is scheduled to begin in January and will continue through February 2023.