PSE Statement on Initiative 1631

BELLEVUE, Wash. (10/1/2018) PSE Statement on Initiative 1631

Every electric and natural gas utility has a core mission: deliver safe, reliable energy at an affordable price. PSE takes great pride in our ability to achieve that goal, providing our customers and local communities with the energy to do great things for more than 145 years.

As the energy provider for 10 counties and 1.5 million customers throughout the state of Washington, we also reflect the values of the customers and the communities we serve. We all treasure the Pacific Northwest’s natural resources and we share our customers’ concerns about the impacts of climate change. Our customers want cleaner sources of energy as well as energy that is affordable, safe and reliable. These interests have driven our decisions for years — from building our first hydroelectric facility at Snoqualmie Falls in the late 19th Century, to building our three wind farms in the early 2000s, to the actions we’re taking today as part of our commitment to reduce our carbon emissions by 50 percent by 2040.

Applying a price to carbon and using those proceeds to invest in new energy sources is another way to accelerate our transition to cleaner energy sources. In the 2018 legislative session, we were actively engaged in such efforts. We worked closely with policy makers and stakeholders to ensure that legislative proposals satisfied our core mandates: a safe, resilient, reliable and affordable clean energy system. We supported the proposals that met these mandates, although no climate legislation ultimately succeeded last session.

Now the issue is in the hands of Washington voters in the form of Initiative 1631. As we did with Initiative 937, approved by the voters in 2006 to establish the state’s renewable portfolio standard, PSE takes no position on Initiative 1631. The voters must decide the future of this initiative.

Initiative 1631 will increase energy rates for our customers to facilitate investment in carbon emission reducing programs. Some of our customers are willing to pay more to help reduce carbon in the environment. Others feel actions already being taken are adequate. Recognizing these differing viewpoints and the implications for all of our customers, we feel it’s vital that customers make the decision on whether or not to support Initiative 1631.

Regardless of the outcome in November, PSE will continue to lead the way to cleaner, more affordable energy for our customers. We believe in a better energy future for our state—one that is safe, reliable, affordable and clean—and we’ll work with our customers to make that vision a reality.

Customer rate impacts

Since posting this statement, we’ve received requests from customers about the rate impacts.

Our residential electric customers would pay around 3.9 percent more per month—about $3.75—beginning in 2020. By 2025, the cumulative rate impact would be about 4.9 percent more per month, or about $5.50 more.

Our natural gas residential customers would pay around 7.8 percent more per month—about $5.33—beginning in 2020. By 2025, the cumulative rate impact would be about 10.9 percent more per month, or about $9.42 more.