According to a recent press release, Peninsula Light Co. will be holding off a rate increase for a second consecutive year despite a hefty increase in wholesale electricity prices.
PenLight is a full-requirements utility of the Bonneville Power Administration and is subject to wholesale rate increases when a federal agency goes through its review process every two years. BPA raised its wholesale rates by 9.6 percent on Oct. 1, 2013, covering a period that will expire on Sept. 30, 2015.
The press release said PenLight, led by its Board of Directors and CEO Jafar Taghavi, fully absorbed the costs of the increase last year by continuing to find financial efficiencies. The company’s cost-containment strategy has been to refinance long-term debt, reduce outage costs due to improved reliability efforts and limit operating expenses to 1 percent growth year over year. It’s been successful for the past six years.
“My staff and our board of directors work very hard to minimize budget impacts,”Taghavi said. “We continue to look for ways to innovate, economize and invest in technology that will reduce expenses and support our ability to become more efficient.”
Taghavi said it’s been much more difficult to keep rates the same for the second year, but the board approved a budget for 2015 without a rate increase. In fact, PenLight has only raised rates three times since 2001, a trend that’s opposite from the industry nationwide.
“We anticipate we will again see a rate increase from BPA in October 2015, so we will work at keeping the costs we can control to a minimum,”Taghavi said.
PenLight is a member-owned, not-for-profit electric cooperative. Since 1925, the utility has served the Gig Harbor and Key peninsulas and Fox Island in western Pierce County. PenLight has grown to be the second largest cooperative in Washington state. It serves more than 31,000 meters with 977 miles of line in 112 square miles of service territory. The company also provides service to 3,230 water consumers.
For more information, visit penlight.org.