Electric Retail Rates FAQs

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2018 Electric Retail Rates FAQs

How much is the revenue increase? The City Council approved a 6.5% rate increase for all customer classes at its October 3, 2017 meeting to be effective January 1, 2018. The increase is necessary due to a 6.5% utility rate revenue deficit determined by the latest cost of service analysis (COSA). The increase will be effective with the first utility bill customers receive in January 2018 and apply to all electrical services for the billing period. Even with the increase, Richland Energy Services (RES) rates will remain some of the lowest in Washington.

How will the rates affect a residential customer? For the average residential customer, the increase will be approximately $6.50 per month with the average bill projected to increase from $100 to $106.50. This example is for illustrative purposes. Customers’ bills will vary due to metered energy use and number of days in the billing cycle. The residential monthly energy charge will increase from $0.0644 per kWh to $0.0686 per kWh. The residential daily service charge will increase from $0.60 per day to $0.64 per day, or from $18.30 to $19.20 per month based on a 30 day billing cycle. Commercial, industrial, and irrigation rates will also increase. See a comparison of the existing and 2018 rates at ci.richland.wa.us/EnergyServices.

How will the rates affect my bill? To understand how the new rates will affect your bill, use the 2018 Electric Rates Bill Calculator to calculate your bill with the current and new 2018 rates.

Why is a rate change necessary? The rate increase is necessary due to a 6.5% rate revenue deficit due primarily to higher wholesale power costs. Wholesale power is RES’ most significant operating expense, comprising over 60% of expenses. RES purchases its wholesale power from the Bonneville Power Administration (BPA), and BPA is implementing an increase effective October 1, 2017.

Why have power costs increased? RES wholesale power costs are dependent on the terms of long-term power and transmission contracts with BPA. BPA’s wholesale power costs for RES have increased due to upgrades needed for aging infrastructure, improvements necessary to integrate renewable resources, decreasing customer energy consumption, lower market prices for sales of BPA’s surplus power, and increasing regulatory requirements primarily related to fish protection.

Will you still be offering a discount for low-income seniors and disabled customers? Yes, under the new rates, qualifying customers will pay no daily service charge – a $19 savings per month based on a 30 day billing cycle – and receive a 15% discount on energy.

CITY OF RICHLAND ENERGY SERVICES DEPARTMENT

505 Swift Boulevard, MS-21

Richland, WA 99352

Telephone (509) 942-7403 Fax (509) 942-7405

The City has deferred, no-interest housing rehabilitation programs for low and moderate income homeowners to correct health and safety issues or improve the livability of their home by providing energy-efficiency and weatherization upgrades. Visit our website for more information. Also, low-income customers can participate in RES’ Low-Income Energy Efficiency Program.

Will there be another increase in 2019? We continue to analyze our cost of service and revenue requirements including projecting possible rate changes for several years in the future. Based on our current projections another increase likely will be necessary sometime in 2020. Many things affect revenue including wholesale power costs, investment in capital infrastructure, and minimum reserves to be ready for things beyond our control such as weather and customer loads. Each future increase proposed by RES staff will be discussed by the Utility Advisory Committee and considered for approval by City Council prior to taking effect. Stay informed by visiting our website and following the City on Facebook and Twitter. 

What is RES doing to keep rates as low as possible in the future? Our priorities are to operate safely and provide reliable service at the lowest reasonable cost. We continue to use new technology and cost-effective business practices minimize rate impacts to customers. We, like you, are paying higher costs for products and services including our greatest expense -- wholesale power. In addition, investing in new and maintaining the existing electrical infrastructure is necessary to continue providing the reliable service customers need. 

Where can I get more information about the approved 2018 electric rates and learn how to reduce my bill? Visit website at www.ci.richland.wa.us/energyservices and follow the City on Facebook and Twitter to stay updated and learn ways to reduce your electric bill by being more energy efficient.

Whom can I contact if I have additional questions about the electric rates?

Elena Manzo - emanzo@ci.richland.wa.us or (509) 942-7401

Members of the media can contact:

Sandi Edgemon - sedgemon@ci.richland.wa.us or (509) 942-7613