Consumers

Puget Sound Energy electric customers to see lower (!) bills after federal tax cut

Working in the the warehousing section at Puget Sound Energy's Olympia facility, Erin Sheehy checks and a weighs rolls of power line wires on Sept. 24th, 2012. The utility announced Tuesday it would pass on federal tax savings to its customers.
Working in the the warehousing section at Puget Sound Energy's Olympia facility, Erin Sheehy checks and a weighs rolls of power line wires on Sept. 24th, 2012. The utility announced Tuesday it would pass on federal tax savings to its customers. Olympian file photo

Puget Sound Energy (PSE) says it will pass all of a $96.5-million cut in federal taxes on to electric and natural gas customers.

The tax savings will cut residential electric bills by $3.50 a month and trim natural gas bills by $1.83 a month, according to a written statement from the organization. Those rate adjustments will take effect Tuesday.

Corporations were big winners in the tax overhaul that Congress passed in December and that President Donald Trump signed into law. The new law lowered corporate rates from 35 percent to 21 percent, and in January, a directive from the Washington Utilities and Transportation Commission asked all utilities to report the tax savings expected by the new law.

At that time, Dave Danner, the state commission’s chair, said that “utilities are on notice that we expect customers will reap the benefits,” and PSE officials agreed that should happen.

“Passing back these federal tax savings is the right thing to do for our customers,” said PSE Vice President Ken Johnson, who commended the commission for a regulatory process that enabled a quick pass-through of the tax savings.

For electric customers, once other rate adjustments from a regulatory review are included, the total savings on their bills will be $7 a month, according to the PSE statement.

For natural-gas customers, the tax cut’s pass-through will help offset other rate filings that raise the monthly bill. Those customers will see a net increase in their bills of 48 cents a month.

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