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Have your say Tuesday about Puget Sound Energy’s plan to raise natural gas rates

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Puget Sound Energy customers will have the opportunity to comment to state regulators on the company’s proposed electric and natural gas rate changes at 6 p.m. Tuesday, according to a Utilities and Transportation Commission news release issued Monday.

The hearing will be before the UTC at 1300 S. Evergreen Park Drive SW, Olympia.

In November, PSE filed a rate case with the UTC requesting an annual $18.9 million, or 0.9 percent, overall rate increase for electric customers and an annual $21.7 million, or 2.9 percent, overall rate increase for natural gas customers., according to the news release.

However, in January, staff members of the UTC reached an all-party settlement with PSE and five other parties on the company’s request to increase electric rates and natural gas rates for its customers. The settlement lays out an agreement that would allow a 2.9 percent increase, or $21.5 million, to the company’s natural gas rates, but no increase to the company’s electric rates.

If the settlement is approved, the typical residential natural gas customer using 64 therms a month would see a monthly increase of $1.58, resulting in a bill of $60.61, according to the news release.

The three-member commission can choose to accept, reject, or modify the agreement. The agreement would take effect March 1.

PSE also committed to providing approximately $130,000 in additional funds for the natural gas Home Energy Lifeline Program, or HELP, which offers bill-assistance to eligible PSE customers, according to the release.

The commission has received 710 public comments to date on the company’s rate proposal — 657 opposed, 24 in favor, and 29 undecided, the news release says.

Customers who are unable to attend a public meeting but want to comment on the proposed plans can submit comments online at www.utc.wa.gov/comments; by email to comments@utc.wa.gov; by mail to P.O. Box 47250, Olympia, WA., 98504; or by calling toll-free 888-333-9882.

PSE’s most recent rate change was approved in December 2017, which provided an overall 1 percent increase in electric rates and a decrease of 3.9 percent in natural gas rates, according to the news release.

Bellevue-based PSE provides electricity service to more than 1.1 million electric customers in eight Washington counties, including Thurston, and natural gas service to more than 800,000 customers in six Washington counties, including Thurston.

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