Expect Your Power Bill to Go Up if Carbon Initiative Passes, Say PUDs

KENNEWICK, WA – Both the Benton and Franklin PUD commissions are opposing an initiative on the November ballot that would charge a fee on carbon pollution.

It would raise electric rates for their customers even though the Benton PUD already has a 92 percent carbon-free fuel mix for the electricity it distributes and the Franklin PUD has a 93 percent carbon-free fuel mix, the PUDs said. Much of their electricity comes from hydropower.

The Benton Public Utility District Commission, which approved a resolution opposing Initiative 1631 on Tuesday, heard from staff that costs would increase between $1 million and $2.1 million in 2020. Consumers would see that reflected in their electric rates.

The Franklin PUD Commission passed a resolution in late August opposing the initiative. Its staff estimated that the immediate impact would be $700,000 to $1 million a year initially, or about a 1 percent rate increase.

The electric rate increases would be in addition to fees charged on gasoline. The fee is estimated to increase the cost of a gallon of gas 14 cents during the first year.

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