SEATTLE (Legal Newsline) - Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson's Public Counsel Section filed expert testimony on Friday to recommend changes to a multi-year rate plan filed by Puget Sound Energy.
PSE's proposal includes automatic cost escalators to calculate electricity and gas rates based on projected cost increases and an initial rate increase of approximately $50 million in 2013. The increase of approximately 3.3 percent in customers' power bills would be followed by additional annual increases of slightly more than one percent through at least 2015. PSE estimates the escalation factors could result in more than $200 million in added revenue through 2015 and an additional $100 million in revenue through 2016.
While the Washington Utilities and Transportation Commission and the Northwest Energy Coalition support the proposals, Ferguson's Public Counsel Section argues multiple modifications should be made to the proposal.
The public counsel's filing argues that the UTC should reduce PSE's authorized return on equity from 9.8 percent to nine percent, reject the use of an automatic rate escalator and allow for smaller increases over the next two to three years.
The UTC will examine the evidence and testimony by Ferguson's office and other parties before issuing a decision to set the final rate levels by July. A public hearing on the matter is set for May 16 in Olympia.
Ferguson's Public Counsel Section advocates for consumer interests on mergers, rate cases and other UTC rulings.