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Retail energy rates to rise in Washington

Ratepayers in Richland, Washington, may see their electricity bills go up in 2013 by as much as 8.9 percent due to a major increase in unavoidable costs from the Bonneville Power Administration.

According to the Mid-Columbia Tri-City Herald, the city council recently heard a number of reasons for why the rates will rise, but the higher operating costs are the strongest impetus. Bob Hammond, director of Richland Energy Services, stated that a recent cost-of-services analysis showed retail energy rates must go up 14 percent if the city plans to continue delivering power.

However, the increases will not be the same across the board, as several classes of customers exist in Washington, and the rates will also be governed by demand. Under the most recent agreement with BPA, a tiered structure was established, which results in more expensive wholesale power when delivery exceeds pre-set amounts.

In states where energy deregulation laws have been implemented, when rates increase, residents have the opportunity to compare electricity rates to determine which provider is best for them. Retail energy providers often entice customers with incentives and rewards programs to encourage them to switch.