Billing

Billing

Learn more at PUD 3's billing procedures.

Click here to read the back of your PUD 3 bill, which covers some of our billing related basics.

If you have any questions, please call customer service at (360) 426-8255.

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PUD 3 personnel read electric meters and generate bills each work day of the month. PUD 3 bills its customers on a monthly basis.

All bills are due 21 days from the bill date. Bills become delinquent 28 days from the bill date. If a customer has not paid their bill or made satisfactory payment arrangements within 28 days of the billing, the PUD will send the customer a past due notice and assess a late fee. The purpose of the notice is intended to inform the customer that failure to make a payment or satisfactory payment arrangements with seven (7) days may result in the disconnection of service without further notice.

If a customer is using the PUD's automatic bank card payment option, they will still receive their regular billing with a payment date of seven days from the bill date.

Customers have the option to receive their monthly utility bill via email in addition to, or in lieu of, their regular paper bill.

The late fee for residential accounts is $7.50. For commercial accounts the late fee is $7.50 or 1% of the total past due balance, whichever is greater.

Customers may be required to pay a security deposit with the District to establish or continue service in the minimum amount of $100.00 or an amount not to exceed the estimated amount for the two (2) highest billing periods combined at the location where electric service is requested. 

The full deposit policy is on page 3 of the District's Electric Service Rules and Regulations. The full fee schedule is at the end of that document.  

The basic measure for electricity is the kilowatt-hour (kWh).

One (1) kWh is the amount of electrical energy required to operate a 100-watt light bulb for ten hours. Your electric bill indicates the number of kilowatt-hours used as determined by a reading of the PUD 3 electrical meter. The dollar amount of your electric bill is based on this number of kilowatt-hours plus a daily system charge.

Utility companies calculate energy consumption with electro-mechanical or solid-state watt-hour meters. The dials on your electric meter are similar to clock faces lined in a row (every other dial moves counter clockwise). Read the dials from right to left and write the numbers down in the same order. If the pointer is between numbers, you should record the lower of the two numbers.

When the pointer seems to be directly on a number, look at the dial to the right; if the pointer on the right side dial has passed "0," then write down the number the pointer seems to be on; if the pointer on the right side dial has not passed "0," then write down the previous lower number on the dial you are recording.

EXAMPLE:

The meter below would read 66498 for a five-dial meter.

Five Meter Faces Displaying Different Numbers

Ready to serve. Power when you need it. Sharing costs between part-time residents and the local folk. Those are the aims of a daily system charge.

Two things make up rates. The energy price that covers the cost of electricity PUD 3 purchases and sells to its customers, and the daily system charge - the cost to operate and maintain the system.

Many rural utilities design their rates to balance the cost of service for full-time residents and vacation home customers. The result is usually lower per kilowatt-hour rates and somewhat higher system charges when compared with more urban areas.

PUD 3 has a lot of vacation homes (over 25%). Our studies show that a daily charge mixed with a per kilowatt-hour rate better addresses spreading the cost more equally among seasonal and full time residents.

PUD 3 Daily System Charge

The system charge has been a part of PUD 3's electric rates since 1978. To explain the system charge, consider the case of a vacation cabin. Even though it is often unoccupied for long periods of time, there are still fixed costs for being ready to serve the cabin. Though power is not being used, the meter read is collected, the billing processed, and if there's a storm, the damage to the PUD's electrical system is repaired.

If those fixed costs were added to the price of each kilowatt-hour of electricity, the large users (such as local electric heat customers) would end up paying for the services used by that cabin. So instead, with the system charge, those costs are divided evenly among all customers connected to the system. That way, each customer is being charged the full costs of having their home connected and ready to be served by the electric system whether or not they consume electricity.

Think of the system charge as a “ready to serve charge.” Regardless of the amount of electricity a customer uses, or when, they assume that the service will always be available when they are ready to use it. This helps share costs across all customers; full-time and seasonal.

Low income discounts for senior citizens or disabled persons are available. This amounts to the removal of the daily system charge on your bill. Learn more about PUD 3's Assistance Programs for qualifying customers.

Utility Taxes on Your Bill

To paraphrase Benjamin Franklin, “In this world nothing can be said to be certain, except the reliability of Mason PUD 3’s electrical service, and taxes.”

Washington State imposes two taxes on public utility district customers. For customers who live within the Shelton city limits, there’s an additional tax charged by the city.

For transparency’s sake, all taxes are calculated separately and shown on each bill.

 

Why Do We Have These Taxes? What are the rates?

Washington State Public Utility Tax

Operators of certain public service businesses (such as electrical utilities) are subject to the Washington State Public Utility Tax. This tax is applied to PUD 3’s retail electric sales and services. The tax rate is 3.8734%.

Washington State Public Utility District (PUD) Privilege Tax

PUD 3 pays the Washington State Public Utility District (PUD) Privilege Tax in place of property taxes. It applies to the business of operating works, plants, or facilities for the generation, distribution, and sale of electric energy. The tax rate is 2.14%.

City of Shelton Electric Public Utility District Tax

The city of Shelton charges an Electric Public Utility District Tax for PUD 3 to operate works, plants, or facilities for the generation, distribution, and sale of electric energy within the city limits. Essentially, it pays for the right to do business in city right of way. The City of Shelton Utility Tax rate is 6%.

 

How Are Taxes Calculated for Mason County? The City of Shelton?

State tax calculation for PUD 3 customers outside the city limits of Shelton:

  1. Total PUD Charges x .038734 = State Public Utility Tax
  2. (Total PUD Charges + State Public Utility Tax) x .0214 = State PUD Privilege Tax

State and local tax calculation for PUD 3 customers within the city limits of Shelton:

  1. Total PUD Charges x .038734 = State Public Utility Tax
  2. (Total PUD Charges + State Public Utility Tax) x .0214 = State PUD Privilege Tax
  3. (Total PUD Charges + State Public Utility Tax + State PUD Privilege Tax) x .06 = Shelton Electric Public Utility District Tax

Unsure of how a prior rate increase affected your current bill? This is a handy tool that may be able to help.

Please contact customer service at (360) 426-8255 if you have any questions.

PUD 3 Residential Rate Calculator

Mason County PUD 3 strives to physically read every one of over 33,000 meters each month. However, occasional weather conditions, locked gates, overly protective dogs, or other circumstances may prevent PUD 3 personnel from doing so. In these cases meter readings are estimated and "Estimated Billing" is printed on the customer's bill.

In these cases, PUD staff will estimate a customer's usage based on the length of the billing cycle, previous usage for corresponding billing periods and weather conditions.

If an estimated bill is issued, it is advisable to verify the estimated reading shown on the statement with the actual reading on the meter. (Meter reading instructions are printed on the back of each billing statement.) Any difference between estimated and actual usage will automatically be corrected on the next bill when an actual read is obtained.

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