Puget Sound Energy Wins Approval To Launch Retail Competition Pilot
From Electric Utility Week, Aug. 11:
Puget Sound Energy of Bellevue, Wash., plans to launch a two-year customer choice pilot on Nov. 1 designed to test customer and supplier related operational issues now that the Washington Utilities & Transportation Commission has approved the program.
The pilot will be open to residential, commercial and industrial electricity customers. It runs through December 1999 and it will be offered to 10% or 85,565 of all Puget customers, with a maximum participation level of 10,321 customers, which is 1.2% of the utility's load, said James Heidell, director of state and federal regulation at the utility. "This pilot will serve as a 'laboratory' for testing complex issues," he said.
Those chosen to participate in the pilot will be located in Bremerton and Mt. Vernon in Washington state because the markets are contained and suppliers will be able to reach potential customers by advertising in local media.
Puget would have contracts with alternate suppliers to govern their participation and the contracts will cover issues such as scheduling, power delivery, energy true-up, tax collection and advertising to attract consumers. Suppliers must agree to pay local and state taxing entities to prevent any potential tax revenue loss.
Puget removed from its proposal a condition of reciprocity in which alternate suppliers who snare 10% or more of the pilot customers provide reciprocity to Puget. Powerex, the export arm of B.C. Hydro, has expressed interest in participating, although Puget has not yet actively solicited suppliers.
Power from other suppliers would continue to be delivered over Puget's transmission and distribution lines and the utility would continue to provide basic services such as meter reading, billing and line maintenance.
Puget Sound Energy is the company formed by the merger in February of Puget Sound Power & Light and the Seattle gas distributor Washington Energy Co.