Franklin PUD leaders discuss utility rate hike - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Franklin PUD leaders discuss utility rate hike

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PASCO, Wash. -- A lot of utility companies will increase rates beginning next year, however a meeting at the Franklin PUD building on Thursday was centered on looking for options to avoid increases.

Customers who come from residential, commercial, industrial and agriculture properties met to talk about adjustments on basic changes and the possibility of a hike in prices for 2011.

They won't see an increase early in the year, however with a growing customer base things can change. That's because of Initiative 937 which requires larger utility companies, like Benton PUD that serve over 25,000 clients to get renewable energy from solar and wind.

Debbie Bone-Harris, with the Franklin PUD says, "so that's one of the cruxes of I-937, is that utilities are having to go and buy power and they don't even need it. So again that's passed on to customers and through their rates."

Harris says while Franklin PUD does not have 25,000 customers now, they will likely reach that target by late 2011 or early 2012. She also says the increase won't be dramatic but likely around 4% and could come in July. Another meeting will be held in April or May for a final decision.