May 24, 2023
Customers in the affected area have been notified by mail. Read more
PUD 3 has various kinds of customers. The cost to serve each type of customer is different.
Of course, it doesn’t cost as much to connect a street or area light as it does a humming industrial plant. So we study each kind of customer to make sure they are fairly charged for the service they need.
For the full Rate Schedule click here.
$105.4 million budget includes average 6% rate increase March 1
In 2020, purchasing one of our standard transformers to serve a home cost about $800. Now, that same transformer costs about $2,100. To add to the challenge, those transformers take about twice as long (or longer) to receive. The problem has reached national attention, where the American Public Power Association has declared a “critical shortage” of transformers.
Transformers are just one of the critical pieces of equipment presenting challenges for PUD 3 and utilities across the nation. Both customer demand and replacing aging infrastructure have led to the need for more poles, wires and more, and costs for all equipment have dramatically increased. While growing communities demand more work to be done, there are fewer units being produced to fill that demand.
PUD 3’s 2024 budget anticipates about $3.1 million more in the cost of materials because of how expensive the equipment has become. This will both seek to fulfill customer demand and continue to provide needed maintenance. To raise those funds, the budget calls for an average 6% increase to rates beginning March 1. Each customer type’s increase is based on the actual cost to serve those customers.
The daily system charge will see an additional 10 cents per day for customers. For residential customers specifically, the 6% increase to the energy rate and 10 cents increase to the system charge will mean about $14 more per month, using 2,000 kWh as the average. Other customer rate changes include:
To ease the impact to customer rates, commissioners plan approved the use of $4.4 million of reserves. There are a number of drivers behind this:
This was the first year for the Low-Income Energy Assistance Surcharge to appear on customer bills. The funds raised have served more than 3,000 families so far in 2023 by providing the funds needed for energy assistance programs. Those who qualify as low-income are exempted from the surcharge. Starting Jan. 1, the surcharge amount on monthly bills will increase by about 33 cents per month, remaining below $5 per month. The surcharge allows the PUD to comply with the Washington State Clean Energy Transformation Act (CETA) legislation.
For customers who qualify, PUD 3 also offers bill assistance through Project Share, a donation-based program. Assistance can also be found through the Community Action Council, which manages the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP).
Any customers can also chat with Energy Services about free energy audits and can learn more about energy efficiency incentives to help reduce energy use.
Commissioners approved the budget on Nov. 21 after hearings on Nov. 7 and a public comment period. Those who wish to see the full budget can email email@example.com or call the office during regular business hours.
Applicable to single family residences and separately metered apartment units for domestic, seasonal or recreational use, incidental power service, unmetered services, and single-phase well services. This schedule is not applicable to sale for resale which is prohibited by Mason PUD 3 (PUD 3).
Applicable only to current qualified low income disabled or current qualified low-income senior customers in single family residences and separately metered apartment units for domestic power service. Several eligibility requirements must be met to be considered qualified. This schedule is not applicable to sale for resale which is prohibited by PUD 3. This schedule is no longer available except to customers qualified and receiving service under this schedule on the effective date and so long thereafter as such status does not terminate. This schedule is no longer otherwise available.
Applicable to single metered commercial and individual consumers including schools, churches, granges, community halls, public agencies, three-phase well services, unmetered services and other consumers with usage under 15,000 kWhs in any month and a demand of 50 kW or less in all months. Also applicable to all unmetered PUD 3 contractor job shack electrical hookups to PUD 3 facilities (if located on private or public property, consent of the controlling authority is to be obtained by the contractor). This schedule is not applicable to sale for resale which is prohibited by PUD 3.
Applicable to single metered commercial and individual consumers including schools, churches, granges, community halls, public agencies, three-phase well services and other consumers with consumption greater than 15,000 kWhs in any month or a demand greater than 50 kW in any month. This schedule is not applicable to sale for resale which is prohibited by PUD 3.
Applicable to all services consuming electricity for purposes of producing or processing cannabis as authorized under Washington State law. To include all applications for service with load associated with such producing or processing activities. Customers qualifying for this rate schedule are not eligible for federally funded conservation or other financial assistance provided through the BPA. This schedule is not applicable to sale for resale which is prohibited by PUD 3.
Applicable to all publicly available electric vehicle charging equipment that is metered separately from other loads not primarily associated with the charging of electric vehicles and whose total connected load does not exceed 0.5 MW. Participation in this rate schedule is optional and eligible customers may choose to participate at any time. Customers who transfer from this rate schedule will not be eligible to participate for a 12-month period following the date of their exit. This schedule is not available for service to seasonally disconnected loads.
Applicable to all consumers for security lighting or unmetered signs at any location on the property of the consumer or an adjacent or related public property provided that consent of the public authority controlling such public property be obtained. HPS Luminaires and unmetered sign service are no longer available except to customers who already have those services.
Applicable to the City of Shelton for security lighting, at any location on public rights-of-way provided that consent of the public authority controlling such public property be obtained.
Applicable to load associated with a new facility, existing facility not served by PUD 3, or an expansion of an existing facility which will result in an increase in power capacity to PUD 3 of 0.5 aMW or more over any consecutive 12-month period, or 1 MW of demand or more over any consecutive 12-month period. PUD 3, at its sole discretion, will make a determination as to what constitutes a facility for purposes of identifying a New or Expanding Large Load (NELL). All consumers being served under this rate schedule will be required to enter into a contract with PUD 3 before delivery of electric service begins.
If a load associated with a new facility, an existing facility not served by PUD 3, or expansion of an existing load was initially determined by PUD 3 to not be a NELL and was billed under the applicable rate schedule, but such load is later determined by PUD 3 to be a NELL, then PUD 3 will begin billing such load consistent with this rate schedule and will require the NELL to enter into a contract with PUD 3.
Once a load associated with a new facility, an existing facility not served by PUD 3, or expansion of an existing load was determined by PUD 3 to be a NELL, such load will continue to be treated as a NELL even if such load decreases over time. This schedule is not applicable to sale for resale which is prohibited by PUD 3.
Applicable to current industrial consumers at primary voltage of 12,470, having measured demands of not less than 1,000 kW, with the consumer's connection being at a distribution substation. This schedule is not applicable to sale for resale which is prohibited by PUD 3. This schedule is no longer available except to current customers under this schedule.
The following schedules are included in the supplemental schedules document below:
Below is a schedule of fees for various services the PUD performs. Applicable to all consumers as determined appropriate.
The Low-Income Energy Assistance Surcharge is a result of the PUD’s need to comply with the Washington State Clean Energy Transformation Act (CETA) legislation RCW 19.405, section 120 which requires utilities to provide energy assistance to “low-income households with a priority given to those with a higher energy burden.”
The PUD’s existing low-income programs did not provide this priority, however participants currently enrolled in those programs will be grandfathered in. To ensure compliance, a new low-income energy assistance program was created, and the cost will be recovered through a surcharge to customers which will fluctuate monthly but is estimated to be below $5.00 per month.
Since the law also requires assurance of equitable distribution of benefits and a reduction of burdens to vulnerable populations and highly impacted communities, qualifying accounts will be exempt from sharing in the cost of the programs (i.e. the surcharge).
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.
Operators of certain public service businesses (such as electrical utilities) are subject to the Washington State Public Utility Tax. Other public service businesses subject to this tax include businesses that engage in transportation, communications, natural gas, and water. The tax is in lieu of the business and occupation (B&O) tax. The majority of the funds are distributed into the state general fund. A portion, however, provides financial assistance to local governments for maintenance of public works facilities. This tax is applied to PUD 3’s retail electric sales and services. See RCW 82.16 requirements here. You can view Department of Revenue's explanation of the tax here.
In addition to the Public Utility Tax, the PUD 3 pays the Washington State Public Utility District (PUD) Privilege Tax. The tax is based on the amount received from the sale of electricity and is intended to be in lieu of property tax, since public utility districts are governmental entities and do not pay property taxes. The tax is collected from every utility district for the act or "privilege" of engaging within the state in the business of operating works, plants or facilities for the generation, distribution and sale of electric energy. The state keeps a percentage for the state general fund and for public schools, and the rest is distributed proportionately to counties the Public Utility District serves. This allows schools and other taxing districts to receive revenues from the PUD. See RCW 54.28 requirements here.
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.
Since these taxes are based on the amount received from the sale of electricity, they are reported to the Department of Revenue and the City of Shelton as part of the PUD's taxable gross revenue. Many utilities include these types of taxes in their electric rates. Mason PUD 3 used to have these taxes buried in the rate as well, but for transparency purposes, the PUD has broken out the tax rates to show customers precisely what portion of their bills go to taxes the utility must pay.
The argument we often hear from customers is “you can’t tax a tax!” We totally agree, however the Department of Revenue doesn't classify these as a tax to the consumer, instead it classifies it as a portion of the kWh rate and/or taxable gross revenue (income) of the District – and then the PUD pays these taxes on that taxable gross or revenue.
RCW 54.28.011 Defines "Gross Revenue" as the amount received from the sale of electric energy, which also includes any regularly recurring charge, billed to consumers as a condition of receiving electric energy. The taxes explained above are classified as regularly occurring charges and therefore are included in the meaning of gross revenue.
Ready to serve. Power when you need it. Sharing costs between part-time residents and the local folk. Those are the aims of a 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 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.
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.
If you or someone you know could use energy assistance, learn more about PUD 3's Assistance Programs for qualifying customers.