Puget Sound Energy Wants You to Pay for Their Fracked Gas Project

Puget Sound Energy is yet again trying to increase rates for residential gas and electric customers. Part of this will be to pay for the construction costs of their Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) facility that the Puyallup Tribe is still fighting in court. There will be a public hearing and the Utilities and Transportation Commission need to hear from you that these increases should be denied.

Public Hearing

Wednesday September 28th starting at 6pm
Click here to join by Zoom  

By phone: dial 253-215-8782 and use Conference ID 834 6224 4485 and Passcode 772950. UTC website: https//utc.wa.gov/220066.

We recommend speaking from the heart about why this matters.

Plan your comment to be about 2 minutes or less.

Written Comments can be submitted to:

    Email to: comment@utc.wa.gov

By mail at P.O. Box 47250, Olympia, WA 98504

Organizational Opposition:

Add your organization’s name here stating opposition to these rate increases!

Talking Points:

  • PSE wants to raise residential electric rates by more than 20% during the next three years, and residential gas rates by almost 17%. This is unacceptable when PSE is already Washington’s most expensive utility and many customers are struggling or unable to pay their bills.
  • PSE is not investing sufficiently in energy efficiency, energy storage, time-varying rates, demand response and other measures that would accelerate the transition to clean energy, as well as improve reliability and lower customer costs.
  • PSE pursues large infrastructure projects that maximize profits for its investors, but which have not been shown to make measurable improvements in reliability metrics or the daily lives of PSE customers.
  • PSE should not continue to use ratepayer funds to keep Colstrip coal-fired power plant running beyond 2025.
  • PSE has not proven that large projects like the Tacoma LNG facility, Lake Hills Transmission Line, or Energize Eastside are prudent investments for ratepayers.
  • PSE’s proposed rate increase is unprecedented in its scale and scope, largely seeking compensation for infrastructure projects completed in the past, as well as projects currently being built, and unspecified projects to be completed in the next three years. Many of the past projects have been vigorously opposed by PSE’s customers and are manifestly harmful to the environment.
  • PSE should not receive a rate increase to pay for the Tacoma LNG facility.
    • The Puyallup Tribe and Earthjustice are still appealing the permits for this controversial facility in court.
    • The pollution from this facility will disproportionately impact already overburdened and marginalized communities–namely the Puyallup Tribe and immigrants living in NW Detention Center. This has been recognized by the Tacoma Human Rights Commission.
    • PSE claims the facility will provide cleaner fuel for marine shipping. Studies show that Liquefied Natural Gas is just as bad for climate as other marine bunker fuels when lifecycle emissions are counted. Even if LNG was cleaner, the cost of cleaning up the shipping industry should not be borne by residential customers.
    • This facility is predicated on PSE’s false assertion that public demand for natural gas will increase. This assumption ignores the reality of growing public demand for electric heat pumps instead of gas heating, and both state and local government regulations moving to curtail the use of gas in buildings.
  • PSE wishes to charge customers hundreds of millions of dollars for the Energize Eastside transmission upgrade project, which is not complete, has not obtained land use permits to proceed with half the project, and relies on overstated demand projections.
  • PSE seeks millions of dollars to recover project costs of Lake Hills Transmission Line, even though the project was strongly opposed by the community it was intended to serve and their elected representatives. The community also raised thousands of dollars to study alternative solutions but PSE refused to engage.
  • The Utilities and Transportation Commission looks out for customers by approving investments with the “lowest cost”. When examining what constitutes lowest cost, the UTC must start including more than just the upfront financial cost in their deliberations. 
    • When PSE wants to build more gas infrastructure the cost of exacerbating the climate crisis with more methane emissions should be considered, including likely future costs related to sea level rise, deadly heat waves, droughts, worsening wildfire seasons, and the human health costs related to these events.
    • Approving reimbursement for infrastructure that will run on fracked gas must consider the costs related to fracking: poisoned water tables; earthquakes; destruction of habitat; violations of Indigenous sovereignty, increase in the epidemic of Missing & Murdered Indigenous Women near pipeline construction and man camps; health impacts to nearby communities such as cancer and birth defects. 

Additional Background Info & Sources:

    Native Daily Network’s Coverage of Tacoma LNG Resistance

    Letter from WA Clean Energy Coalition Opposing Rate Increase

    Attorney General’s Office Opposes PSE Rate Increase