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State regulators approve settlement to allow Puget Sound Energy’s system sale to Jefferson Co. PUD
Feb. 2, 2011
The Washington Utilities and Transportation Commission (UTC) adopted the agreement, which determines among other things that the transfer of PSE’s electrical infrastructure to the PUD is exempt from a state law that requires affirmative approval by the commission for most such transfers of property. The agreed upon buyout is $103 million.
“While we determine that the purchase price of $103 million is an appropriate one and sufficient to fully compensate PSE for the sale of the assets, our determination does not affect the subsequent accounting treatment of the sale proceeds and does not affect an allocation of the sale proceeds between PSE’s customers and shareholders,” said the three-member commission in its written order.
A multi-party settlement was filed on Dec. 15 by the UTC staff members, Puget Sound Energy and the PUD. The Public Counsel Section of the Attorney General’s Office did not join in the settlement, but did not oppose the agreement.
The proposed transfer is a result of a November 2008 election in which citizens of Jefferson County voted to approve Prop 1, authorizing the PUD to construct or acquire electrical facilities for the generation, transmission or distribution of electric power in Jefferson County. The PUD is authorized by law to acquire PSE’s property by eminent domain but a condemnation proceeding will be avoided in this case, assuming the agreement between PSE and the PUD is consummated. The commission’s action removes a potential hurdle to the agreement being fully implemented.
Bellevue-based Puget Sound Energy serves more than 1 million electricity customers, primarily in the Puget Sound region of Washington. PSE is currently the electrical provider to nearly 18,000 customers in Jefferson County.
The UTC is the state agency that regulates private, investor-owned electric and natural gas utilities in Washington. It is the commission’s responsibility to ensure regulated companies provide safe and reliable service to customers at reasonable rates, while allowing them the opportunity to earn a fair profit.
Editor’s note: A copy of the UTC decision is available at: www.utc.wa.gov
Staff contact: Marilyn Meehan
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