Rate increases for Lewis County Public Utility District customers were officially approved at a meeting of the district’s commissioners Tuesday.
The rate hikes will increase prices, averaged across multiple categories, by 8.4 percent.
Beginning April 1, daily charges will be increased by 20 cents, for a total of 95 cents, for residential, commercial and small industrial customers. Kilowatt-hour charges will be increased by 5.5 percent to 5.763 cents.
The increase was spurred after the district ran a cost of service analysis where staff found a $3.3 million budgetary shortfall.
Coupled with increasing rates from the Bonneville Power Administration, which the district purchases power from, and decreased usage due to more efficient houses and warmer winters, the prices were increased, according to the Lewis County PUD.
The district has also been putting off increasing rates over the last three years by using cash reserves. Consequently, the reserve fund has dropped from $16 million to $8 million.
The district also sells excess power largely to California markets, which have seen a glut of energy flood the system and drive down returns for the PUD.
The district has several programs that can help residents lower their power bills through energy efficiency programs and other means.
For more information, visit www.lcpud.org.