Rate cut not enough

Published 8:06 pm Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Washington Electric Utilities’ residential customers likely will be grateful for what appears to be an all-but-done deal on reducing WEU’s residential rates by 1 percent effective July 1.

Once the City Council adopts the 2012-2013 budget (which is expected to happen at the council’s June 11 meeting) and nothing gets in the way, the residential electric rate will drop. That’s good news for WEU residential customers, even if it’s only a minor drop in the rate.

This council is on record as seeking to do what it can to reduce electric rates.

Apparently, the city is not going to be content to just lower the residential electric rates to help WEU customers reduce their electric bills. From what was said at the council’s meeting Tuesday, the city wants to help WEU customers reduce their power bills by other ways, mainly conservation.

Reid Brodie, the only person who spoke at the public hearing on the budget during Tuesday’s meeting, suggested the city encourage WEU customers to reduce their power bills through conservation methods in tandem with rate reductions. We encourage, as did Brodie, the city to provide incentives to encourage its power customers to reduce their power usage. He suggested ways to reduce power usage, such as weatherizing houses (including having landlords weatherize their rental units), purchasing energy-efficient appliances and setting thermostats to efficiently cool homes.

As we’ve said before, more WEU customers should use the city’s load-management program.

Two years ago, WEU Director Keith Hardt told the council the city’s load-management program would save the city and its participating power customers about $1.3 million a year.

That should get WEU customers’ attention.