Summary of Consumer Rights

CUSTOMER INFORMATION REPORT
Certain consumer rights information requirements have been established by the Legislature in regards to receiving electric service in the State of Washington. The following are Chelan County PUD’s disclosures in complying with this legislation (RCW 19.29A.020). The majority of this information is contained in the District’s Utility Service Regulations, which can be viewed here and also are available at no charge from each of the District’s business offices.

SECURITY DEPOSITS
Any individual, firm or organization desiring to purchase utility services from the District may be required to pay a security deposit, depending on credit history. The deposit may be held should the customer move to a new address. When service has been terminated, the District may use the deposit as a credit against past due accounts and charges.

RATES
Customers will be charged the current monthly basic charge and rate for the class of service requested. A listing of such rates and classes is available at no charge from each District office or by viewing the Electric Rate Schedules and/or Water/Wastewater Rate Schedules in this section of the website. Customers will be assessed a $16.50 service connection charge for each new account being set up. There is no charge to terminate service. However, all costs associated with service up to that time need to be paid.

The five-member Board of Commissioners of Chelan County PUD is responsible for setting rates for each class of service. Notification of pending rate increase meetings and hearings is legally advertised in accordance with District Resolution #80-6286 and the laws of the State of Washington, RCW 54.24.080, in the newspaper of record for Chelan County, The Wenatchee World. Customers who wish to be placed on a mailing list for future notification of rate increases should contact the Customer Service Department. Notification of future rate increase meetings and hearings will be sent at no charge.

METERING
Meters will be read and bills rendered at monthly or other intervals at the option of the District. The District, at its own expense, will inspect and test meters as required to ensure a high standard of accuracy. Such testing is done with equipment that is traceable back to the National Standards Institute. A meter test requested by a customer, such as for a high-bill inquiry, will be done at District expense. Additional tests can be made at the request of a customer. However, if such tests are requested more than once in three years and the meter is found to be within 2 percent of accuracy, the District may charge a test fee of $25. If the meter is found to be outside the 2 percent accuracy range, fast or slow, the District will pay for the testing and will adjust the billing accordingly.

BILLING
All District bills are due and payable when issued. On the following monthly bill, a past due reminder will be included referencing the unpaid balance from the previous billing. If payment is not received in full at the District office by the 45th day after the issue date shown on the billing statement, the Account will be assessed a penalty as set forth in Fees and Charges. If Customer is unable to pay the full amount or disputes the amount of the bill, he or she has the right to an informal conference at the District’s main office. Unless the Customer pays the full amount due or makes satisfactory payment arrangements with the District within seven days of the notice date, the Utility Service may be disconnected. The disconnection notice contains information explaining how to appeal should the customer dispute the outcome of the informal conference.

If District personnel visit the service address to enforce a disconnection notice or other collection or payment plan arrangement, regardless of whether the service is disconnected, the Customer will be assessed a service fee as set forth in Fees and Charges.

PAYMENTS
If a customer is unable to pay all or part of his or her bill, suitable arrangements may be made by contacting the District’s Customer Relations Department. Payment options include cash, check, credit card, automatic checking account deductions and automatic bank-card charge.

The District advertises for and collects customer donations to its Helping Hand program. These donations are disbursed by the Chelan-Douglas Community Action Council as part of its Energy Assistance Program to qualifying households. The District also works with local church and community assistance groups that provide customers with payment assistance. Please contact any PUD office to take advantage of the above programs.

DISCONTINUANCE OF SERVICE
Should a customer wish to discontinue service, a call or visit to one of our offices with the account number and/or address and date of requested disconnection is all that is required. A closing bill will be rendered that includes prorated customer charges and use up to the requested disconnect date. The District reserves the right to read a meter for a final bill within a one-week period from the disconnect date requested by the customer. The District will disconnect service for good cause, including violation of any of its service regulations, failure to pay a deposit when requested, failure to pay electric charges when due, violation of rate schedule or contract provisions, unlawful diversion of energy, non-payment of a conservation or line extension loan, non-payment of water or wastewater services, or upon receipt of written instructions from the proper authorities for violation of municipal, state or national electrical codes. Disconnection of service for any cause shall not release the customer from his or her obligation to pay for energy or services received or amounts specified in the District’s Service Regulations or any written contract with the customer. A customer may avoid disconnection by following the steps as outlined in the paragraph labeled “Billing,” above. A customer may qualify for protection from disconnection for nonpayment of electric service between November 15 and March 15 if the customer follows the provisions outlined in RCW 54.16.285, a copy of which can be obtained at any of the District’s offices at no charge.

PUBLIC DISCLOSURE
The District adheres to the provisions of the Public Disclosure Act, RCW 42.56.070, as approved and amended by the state of Washington. Upon request, the District will make available for public inspection and copying during regular business hours all public records, unless the information falls within specific exemptions contained in the public record disclosure law. Information regarding the amount of kilowatt hours used at a certain address, and the amount of billing for that usage, may be disclosed to the public. However, the customer’s name, mailing address and other personal information must first be deleted from the documents. Payment history, payment status, credit remarks, forwarding address, employer information, telephone number and other personal information are exempt from public disclosure. Requests from law enforcement agencies must state in writing that the particular person to whom the records pertain is suspected of having committed a crime, cite the authority for the request under RCW 42.56.335, and that the agency has a reasonable belief that the records could help determine whether the suspicion is true. A customer can request that the information contained in his or her account be opened to Realtors, selling agents or others by giving written authorization at any of the District offices. The District will make copies at no charge for the first 100 pages; each page after that is 15 cents each.

CREDIT AND INQUIRY
Billing inquiries should be directed to the Customer Relations Department, which will initiate the process to address the inquiry. If the billing inquiry or complaint remains unresolved, the customer has the right to an informal conference with a designated employee of the District’s Customer Relations Department on any business day. The designated Customer Relations Department employee shall make every effort to arrange a reasonable and feasible deferred payment plan for the customer. The procedure is informal and can be conducted over the telephone or in person. The customer may be represented by counsel of his or her choosing. If satisfactory resolution is not received, the inquiry or complaint may be referred to the Customer Service Department for further review. If the customer is not satisfied with the determination, the customer shall have the right of appeal to the District’s hearing officer. The hearing officer shall be a management-level employee selected by the General Manager and not connected with the Customer Relations Department. Appeals must be made within three business days following the determination of the informal conference and may be made in writing, in person or by telephone.

Procedures for the hearing are contained in Section 10 of the Utility Service Regulations. If a satisfactory solution is not reached during this procedure, the customer has the right to bring the dispute or inquiry to the attention of the Board of Commissioners of Chelan County PUD. Such notice can be made in writing, in person or by telephone. The Commission meets every other Monday at 1 p.m. unless changed by a holiday or prior published arrangement.

DISCOUNTS FOR SENIOR CITIZENS AND DISABLED CUSTOMERS
The District offers a discount of $9.25 per month for electric service, $8.50 per month for water service, and $7.95 per month for wastewater service to qualifying senior customers ages 62 and over with combined incomes of $30,000 a year or less, and to qualifying disabled customers with a combined income that is 125 percent or less than the Federal Poverty Income Guideline. Customers must provide proof of ownership or occupancy as head of household at the property where electricity is being provided by the District. Applicants for the senior discount must also provide proof of age (birth certificate or driver's license) and of income (W-2 Form, 1040 Tax Form or Social Security information). Customers must fill out an application for the discount, which is processed through the Chelan-Douglas Community Action Council. The discount, if approved, will only apply to one electric account.

CUSTOMER INFORMATION REPORT 2016

Energy use and related cost by customer class 

Customer Class Number of
Customers
Total kilowatt-hours
per customer class
Average Rate
Cents/kwh1
Percent of
utility load
Residential 37,705 757,093,464 3.232 48.66
Commercial 6,296 491,832,841 3.396 31.61
Industrial 31 264,384,715 2.025 16.99
Irrigation 1,090 38,956,733 2.983 2.50
Frost Protection 372 130,190 64.010 0.01
Street and Area Lighting 4,154 3,556,584 7.969 0.23

Footnotes

    This is the average rate for all customers in the class based on the rates effective Jan. 1, 2012. The rate includes energy- and non-energy-related costs such as customer and demand charges.

ELECTRIC RATE INFORMATION

    Chelan County PUD’s last electric rate increase was on Jan. 1, 2012. Electric rates are set by the District’s Board of Commissioners.

    Notice of public hearings regarding an electric rate change is published in The Wenatchee World, the newspaper of record for Chelan County, 30 days prior to public hearings. Customers may request written notification of the rate change and public hearings by contacting the District’s Customer Service Department.

INVESTMENTS IN CONSERVATION, RENEWABLE RESOURCES AND LOW-INCOME ENERGY ASSISTANCE PROGRAMS

In 2016, Chelan County PUD invested $3,242,797 in conservation incentives through the operation of its Energy Development and Conservation Department. The department provides energy efficiency services to all customer classes. In the residential sector, efficiency services totaled $765,424 and included programs to buy down the cost of LED and CFL lamps and efficient shower heads; for weatherization incentives for updating homes with energy efficient windows, doors and insulation; and for the purchase of energy-efficient heating and cooling equipment. A portion of the total the District invested in low-income conservation measures, $90,000, was in the form of a grant. These services are funded through electric rates charged by the District. In addition, the PUD invested $245,025 in the Northwest Energy Efficiency Alliance, which resulted in additional 613,200 kilowatt hours or 0.07 average megawatts of savings through small scale saving initiatives and product development. Residential savings totaled .27 average megawatts.

In the industrial and commercial sectors, the District funded incentives for lighting retrofits and variable frequency drives, industrial machinery, air-source heat pumps, evaporator coil fans, and strategic energy management. The total spent incentive in these programs was $1,573,587 for commercial projects and $685,459 for industrial projects. Resulting energy savings totaled 1.18 average megawatts in the commercial sector and .51 average megawatts in the industrial category.

In promoting alternative renewable power programs, the District provided $145,947 to customers who owned renewable energy generating systems. These funds were actually a portion of the District’s state utility tax passed through to customers in the state-sponsored Renewable Energy Cost Recovery program. The District's SNAP program channeled $20,804 to alternative energy producers from customer contributions in the 12-month period ending March 31, 2016.
 

FEDERAL, STATE AND LOCAL TAXES COLLECTED BY THE DISTRICT

Chelan County PUD is required to collect taxes on the sale of electricity and to pay a variety of other taxes. The 2016 taxes are shown below:

City Occupation Tax (collected for and dispersed as listed below)

Wenatchee 6.0% of sales within city limits Totaling $1,004,975
Cashmere 6.0% of sales within city limits Totaling $142,608
Chelan 6.0% of sales within city limits Totaling $181,275
Entiat 6.0% of sales within city limits Totaling $  59,416
Leavenworth 6.0% of sales within city limits Totaling $115,811
State Utility Tax 3.8734% of retail sales (including occupation tax)
$2,395,328 to state general fund
State Privilege Tax 2.14% of retail sales (excluding occupation tax)
$993,561 to public schools, counties and state general fund

Chelan County PUD is also required to pay various other taxes. These include state sales/use tax, irrigation/fire district assessments, miscellaneous license fees, state B&O taxes, fuel taxes, payroll taxes, production-related taxes and other taxes not directly related to retail sales.

For more information on any of these programs, contact Customer Relations at (509) 661-8002 or send an email.