Clark Public Utilities Commission Adopts 2012 Electric and Water System Budgets, Raises Water Rates
VANCOUVER, WA – December 14, 2011 – Clark Public Utilities’ board of commissioners adopted 2012 budgets for both the electric and water systems on Tuesday, Dec. 13, 2011. The decision included a water rate increase to balance a projected $1.3 million water system budget shortfall.
The 2012 electric system budget totals $376.9 million and includes an increase of $4.7 million above 2011 spending levels due to costs associated with Washington State Initiative 937 and higher power supply costs. At 72 percent, the purchase of power accounts for the bulk of the budget with one percent for conservation, seven percent for debt service, two percent for rate-funded capital, six percent for taxes and 12 percent for operation and maintenance of the system, which serves 180,000 customers in Clark County.
Prior to adopting the proposed budgets commissioners reviewed the impact of the utility’s transition to its new BPA slice/block contract, the power supply portfolio as designed to comply with I-937 renewable energy requirements, all increased spending requests or changes to staffing levels, increased funding for conservation in compliance with I-937 and the potential effects of weather on 2012 water and electric system revenue.
Serving 30,000 customers, the water system outlined a $14.2 million budget for 2012, an increase of $500,000 from 2011.
Water rate increase
Impacted by the cooler, wetter weather in 2011, water sales were significantly lower than forecasted and revenue was insufficient to cover the fixed costs of maintaining the system. In anticipation of similar conditions in 2012, commissioners voted to increase water rates effective Feb. 1.
The change will increase the monthly customer charge from $8 to $9 and the cost per cubic foot from $1.60 to $1.85. Customers with average water usage will see an increase of approximately $3.25 on their monthly bill.
Water rates were last increased in 2009. Even with the rate change, Clark Public Utilities remains one of the lowest cost providers of ground-based water service in the region.
About Clark Public Utilities
Clark Public Utilities is a customer-owned public utility that provides electric service to more than 183,000 customers throughout Clark County. The utility also provides water service to about 30,000 homes and businesses in the Hazel Dell, Salmon Creek, Lakeshore, Hockinson, Brush Prairie, La Center, Meadow Glade, Amboy and Yacolt areas.
Clark Public Utilities is proud to be named a J.D. Power 2011 Customer Service Champion and is only one of 40 companies so named in the U.S. Additionally, Clark Public Utilities was ranked highest in customer satisfaction among midsize utilities in the west by J.D. Power and Associates in 2008, 2009, 2010 and 2011.