June 2016   

Tell Us What You Think! 
The Utilities and Transportation Commission is in the process of updating our website and we want to hear from you. Please take a few minutes to tell us what you like, or don't, about our website.

In addition to a new look and feel, we are creating a mobile version so you can get the information you need even when you are on the go.

To take this brief survey, click here
Ride the Ducks Update 
On May 3, the Utilities and Transportation Commission modified and approved a settlement reached between commission staff and Ride the Ducks of Seattle for the September 2015 fatal collision on the Aurora Bridge. The commission increased the settlement penalty from the proposed $222,000 to $308,000, stating the violations reflect an insufficient approach to public safety which the commission cannot tolerate. The commission agreed to suspend $152,000 of the penalty on the condition the company does not violate any acute, critical, or alcohol and controlled substance testing requirements for two years.

The commission will conduct follow-up compliance and vehicle inspections this summer and and again in January 2017 and January 2018.   
For background about this incident, click here.
Energy Companies Request New Rates  
Two Washington energy companies have requested to raise rates for customers. 
Pacific Power and Light requested an overall rate increase of $10 million, or 3 percent, for customers in Washington.
In response, commission staff recommend a two-year rate plan, which would not allow Pacific Power to increase rates in 2016. In 2017, the company may increase rates by $693,555, or 0.2 percent. Under the staff proposal, in 2017, an average residential customer using 1,300 kilowatt hours-per-month would see their electric bill increase by $0.20, for an average monthly bill of $106.09.
In December 2015, Cascade Natural Gas requested a $10.5 million, or 4.17 percent increase.

In May, commission staff settled with Cascade for an overall rate increase of $4 million. If approved, an average residential customer using 54 therms a month would see a $1.39 raise in the average monthly bill. 
Next week, Cascade customers are invited to comment to the commissioners at two public meetings:
6 p.m., Tuesday June 14
Mount Vernon Police Department Multi-Purpose Meeting Room
1805 Continental Place
Mt. Vernon
6 p.m., Friday, June 17
Mid-Columbia Libraries Kennewick Branch Large Meeting Room
1620 S. Union Street
Customers of either company who would like to comment on the case can to write the UTC at: P.O. Box 47250 Olympia, Wash. 98504, email comments to comment@utc.wa.gov, or call toll-free 1-888-333-9882.
The three-member commission, which is not bound by the staff recommendation, will make a final decision on both utilities' requests this summer.        
Don't Drown in Utility Bills this Summer
Helpful tips to conserve water            

The temperature is rising, but that doesn't mean your water bill has to. Do your part to conserve water with these helpful tips:
  • Water your yard in the morning or evening. Water evaporates quickly in the hot summer heat. Save water and allow it to nourish your lawn when temperatures are low in the a.m. or p.m.
  • Use the dishwater. That's right, hand-washing your dishes can use up to 27 gallons of water, compared to as little as three gallons used by dishwashers.
  • Go to the car wash. Washing a car at home can easily use 100 gallons of water, not to mention take an awful lot of time and effort; commercial car washes often use only 40 gallons or less of fresh water.
  • Shorten your shower. Trimming just two minutes off your shower can save up to 1,750 gallons of water per person in your household each year. If your soap is safe for plants, you can recycle the shower water to water them.

Learn more about water conservation, here.  


Source: www.nrdc.org

Summer DIY Reminder: Call Before You Dig      
If you are planning a summer DIY project that may require you to dig, make sure you call to 811 to request a free underground utility locate first. It's not only a good idea, its the law!
Pipelines and other underground utilities run just beneath the surface and digging into one can be costly to repair and put you at risk of injury, or worst.

State law requires a call to 811 at least two business days before digging.  
To request a FREE underground utility locate just dial 811 or visit www.callbeforeyoudig.org.

For additional information, click here.
  Summertime is moving time!
Many people plan to make big moves, whether in-state or out, during the summer months.

If you are planning a move within the Washington, protect your move and check with the state before it's too late.
  • Call the commission at 1-888-333-WUTC (9882) to verify the mover's permit status and complaint history;
  • Compare costs by getting at least two written estimates;
  • Check online reviews and complaints about the mover;
  • Know the mover's full name, address, and phone number; and
  • Get a written, signed inventory list from the company of all belongings being transported.

Movers offering in-state moves must have a permit with the UTC. For more information, click here.


If your move takes you across state lines, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration offers helpful hints to assist with your move. 
Mover's Court Update
The commission took action against five illegal residential moving companies in May.

Four companies received a $5,000 penalty, with $4,500 suspended for two years based on the condition that the companies comply with the commission order. The companies are:
  • Seattle-based AAA Budget Moving, Demo & Hauling, owned by Darryl Horne;
  • Lacey-based Aktiv Deliveries and Labor, owned by Bilal Willis;
  • Port Angeles-based Creech and Son LLC, owned by Tristan Marti; and
  • Nicholas Griffin, based in Seattle.
Renton-based Rescue Me Movers, owned by Justin Junell, received a $2,500 penalty, of which $2,250 was suspended on the condition that the company does not operate without a permit.

For information about movers court, and each company, click here

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Washington Utilities and Transportation Commission
www.utc.wa.gov | 888.333.9882