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Puget Sound Energy Files to Pass on Wind Financial Benefits to Customers

November 11, 2008

Puget Sound Energy (PSE) wants to reduce its customers’ bills thanks to the high performance of wind power on its system.

The utility filed with the Washington Utilities and Transportation Commission (UTC) a request to pass through an adjusted federal wind power production credit that would further reduce bills for the utility's more than 1 million electric customers effective January 1. The credit is due to a federal income tax benefit—the production tax credit, or PTC—derived from PSE's ownership of two wind power facilities, Wild Horse and Hopkins Ridge, in Washington State.

If approved by the UTC, the wind credit will increase by 28 cents, making the total monthly credit $1.68 for househol ds using 1,000 kilowatt-hours per month. That would lower PSE's average monthly residential electric bill to $91.21.

“We're able to lower customers' electric bills because the amount of the allowed tax credit has increased as a result of our wind facilities generating more power this past year,” said Kimberly Harris, executive vice president and chief resource officer for PSE. “Through the Wind Power Production Credit, we pass through to our customers 100% of the federal income tax benefits we receive for wind generation.”

The PTC was recently extended to include all projects coming online through 2009; in their roles as members of their respective Congressional tax writing committees, U.S. Senator Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.) and U.S. Representative Jim McDermott (D-Wash.) both played roles in efforts to extend the PTC, PSE pointed out.

PSE's Hopkins Ridge wind facility went into operation in November 2005, and its Wild Horse facility began generating power in December 2006. Together, they produce enough energy to serve the nee ds of 100,000 househol ds, according to PSE. The utility has announced plans to expand Wild Horse as early as next year.

Source: Wind Energy Weekly, November 7, 2008, Issue 1314.