Washington state regulators saidPuget Sound Energy(PSE) has agreed to pay a $275,000 penalty to settle a natural gas safety complaint lodged against the Bellevue, WA-based combination utility last year regarding a pipeline leak, explosion and house fire in North Seattle in 2011. TheWashington Utilities and Transportation Commission(WUTC) alleged that PSE violated certain gas safety rules when it responded to reports of gas leaks in the Pinehurst neighborhood of Seattle two years ago. An explosion and fire subsequently destroyed a home and injured two people. Under the settlement, PSE admits there were violations and agreed to pay the penalty. The utility is not allowed to pass on the cost of the fine in the retail rates it charges customers. The WUTC staff found the cause of the leaks late last year and recommended a $400,000 penalty (seeDaily GPI,Dec. 28, 2012).
Articles from Bellevue
Washington state regulators fined Bellevue, WA-based Puget Sound Energy (PSE) $430,000 for improperly charging natural gas and electric utility residential customers for disconnecting their service. The Washington Utilities and Transportation Commission (UTC) approved a multi-party settlement agreement that alleged 1,639 violations by the combination utility of the state’s consumer protection rules. In addition, PSE now has refunded disconnect-visit fees it charged more than 9,000 customers, dating back to December 2009. PSE also has agreed to change its policy regarding the disconnection visits, the UTC said.
Washington state regulators fined Bellevue, WA-based Puget Sound Energy (PSE) $250,000 for failing to correct violations found two years ago in the combination utility’s management of customer accounts. The state Utilities and Transportation Commission (UTC) originally fined PSE $104,300 in October 2010 for allegedly improperly handling customer accounts, including low-income customers that were disconnected for nonpayment. In addition to the penalty, PSE was ordered to correct 265 accounts. UTC approved a multi-party settlement of a complaint that originally alleged 515 violations of the regulators’ 2010 order. Besides the UTC staff and PSE, the settlement included the Public Counsel Section of the Washington Attorney General’s Office, and the nonprofit The Energy Project, representing low-income customers. UTC said PSE now has provided refunds and credits to the customers with the mishandled accounts, and it has changed its billing practices to ensure that customer payments are applied correctly to avoid improper shutoffs. The utility also has agreed to make a $75,000 contribution to its low-income assistance program.
The Washington Utilities and Transportation Commission (UTC) on Monday approved retail natural gas and electricity rate increases for Bellevue, WA-based Puget Sound Energy (PSE), effective May 14 — 1.3%, or $13.4 million annually, for gas customers and 3.2%, or $63.3 million, for power users. PSE originally asked for $32 million and $161 million, for gas and electricity, respectively, when it filed with the UTC last June. The gas increase will cause retail residential bills to increase a little more than a dollar/month, increasing to an average monthly bill of $86; the electric increase will push monthly residential bills up $3.30 to $102.56/month. Among the major reasons for the wide difference between what PSE asked for and what the UTC granted for power rates was the steep decline in natural gas prices during the past 11 months, a UTC spokesperson said. As part of the general rate case decision, the UTC lowered PSE’s returns on equity (10.1% to 9.8%) and overall rate of return (8.1% to 7.8%).
Bellevue, WA-based Puget Sound Energy (PSE) named Phil Bussey to a newly created position of senior vice president and chief customer officer. Bussey’s focus will be on the services PSE provides to its 1.5 million natural gas and electric utility customers and various stakeholder groups. He will join the Puget Energy combination utility in mid-March, coming from his current position as CEO of the Seattle Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce. Bussey previously served as PSE’s senior vice president for corporate affairs before taking the position heading the chamber. In his new position, he will be responsible for customer solutions, corporate affairs, and federal/state government relations.
Washington’s Utilities and Transportation Commission (UTC) on Wednesday slapped a $104,300 penalty on Bellevue, WA-based Puget Sound Energy (PSE) for violating an order directing it to correct the use of its “refusal of service” requirements. The UTC action alleges that PSE in October 2010 provided “inaccurate or misleading information” to some of its customers, including low-income people, regarding how much they were required to pay to reconnect their gas and electric utility service. In addition, the regulators alleged that the combination utility misled or inaccurately informed customers who had been disconnected for nonpayment. UTC ordered the utility to correct the mishandling of 26 customer accounts, all of which were part of a random sampling of hundreds of disconnected customer accounts. The state regulatory panel said a UTC staff investigation subsequently found that PSE had “failed to correct its mishandling” of the accounts, and alleged that the utility committed 515 violations.
Even in what continues to be a weak economic recovery, Bellevue, WA-based Puget Sound Energy (PSE) said Monday it is moving ahead with an all-source request for proposals (RFP) for new long-term power supplies to come online over the 2012 to 2015 period. Natural gas-fired generation is very much in the mix of bids PSE is seeking, the utility told state regulators in seeking approval for the RFP.
Bellevue, WA-based Puget Sound Energy (PSE) has signed a deal with Portland, OR-based Iberdrola Renewables for winter-only electricity supplies from the independent power provider’s Klamath generating facility in Southern Oregon. PSE signed up for 100 MW to be delivered starting Jan. 1 next year.
As a remnant of the western wholesale power market meltdown of 2000-2001, Bellevue, WA-based Puget Sound Energy (PSE) on Monday said its low-income weatherization funding will double next year, thanks to funds it will receive from the Washington state Attorney General’s Office from a 2005 settlement with Enron Corp. PSE will get more than $2.1 million from the Enron case.