Washington State

Office of the Attorney General

Attorney General

Bob Ferguson


Seattle - March 14, 2001 - As western states prepare to endure a summer of tight power supplies, Attorney General Christine Gregoire has asked the Washington Utilities and Transportation Commission (WUTC) to require that private electric utilities give price breaks to all consumers who cut power consumption, not just major industrial users.

"We have already seen how customers, big and small, have responded to the call to conserve energy," said Gregoire. "The need to conserve is not going to go away any time soon. Offering all consumers even more reason to turn out the lights will benefit us all."

According to a letter sent to WUTC Secretary Carole Washburn, the Attorney General's Public Counsel Division asks that the commission consider ordering a credit for residential, small business and irrigation customers who reduce power consumption by at least 10 percent from the same month a year before. Currently, only major industrial power users who conserve energy are eligible to receive credits.

"This will ensure that all customers who achieve meaningful savings are compensated for their efforts," Gregoire said.

According to the request, only customers with a billing history of at least 12 months would be eligible for the credit.

Under current market conditions, if a residential consumer cut usage by 15 percent, the combined savings from the credit and the reduced electricity use could amount to 25 percent off a typical monthly bill. The amount of the credit would be one half of the difference between the regulated retail price of electricity per kilowatt-hour and the average wholesale spot market price of power for that month.

The request would apply to the state's two largest privately held power utilities, Puget Sound Energy, which serves a large area of Western Washington, and Avista, which serves large portions of Eastern Washington.