I\’ve received a lot of feedback on the information provided yesterday about Chelan County PUD\’s rate-hike plan for non-power services provided by the PUD, particularly the Lake Wenatchee wastewater system. Apparently there is interest in this issue so here is the background information as to how we got to this point and what the PUD might perhaps have in mind for us after this year. These remarks deal more specifically with the wastewater system but be aware the PUD thinking on each business line being self-sustaining and the resulting rate hikes also applies to the fiber network.
In March of this year the PUD staff brought to the commissioners a proposal to raise wastewater rates 15% each year for the next four years. This was necessary, they stated, to bring the rates up to a rate adequate to make the system self-sustaining as demanded by the Strategic Plan adopted by the Commissioners for 2010 through 2014. These proposed rate hikes by PUD would have produced a total rate hike over four years of 74% over the current rate of $61.80 to a total monthly rate of $108.07. Four annual increases of 15% do not come to a total increase of only 60% because the 15 % annual hike is based on the compounded rate of the previous year.
The PUD Commissioners felt that the 15% requested for this year was too much at one time and asked the staff to look at it again and that is what produced the 9% proposal for this. If approved in February the new rate would be effective next month if approved. What we don\’t know is what the commissioners have in mind after this year- if they will revert to the 15% annual hike or what.