Over the last year, the price of natural gas has dropped 35 percent to $2.40 per unit on the open market. I didn’t see a 35 percent rate decrease filed by Puget Sound Energy, but it did file for another annual increase.
From its peak, natural gas has dropped dramatically, by 80 percent, over the last five years. How many rate decreases have we experienced during that same period? Should there be some correlation between the price of natural gas and utility rates?
Every year, PSE files for a 6 to 10 percent increase, knowing it will be reduced slightly and then rubber-stamped.
During the latest snowstorm, forecast a week in advance, and the frozen rain, forecast three days in advance, PSE was unprepared. Crews should have been brought in early, Tuesday evening, and positioned in the most threatened areas.
Three days into the storm, PSE was still identifying crews from other states. In the first three days, only a handful of crews, 20 reported by local media, were trying to handle 400,000 outages. That’s 20,000 per crew. The entire system was overwhelmed. Additional crews started to arrive by Saturday and Sunday.
If banks are “too big to fail,” then utility companies like PSE are “too big to succeed.”