Electric FAQ

Are there programs or rebates available to help seniors and others manage their monthly bill?

Yes! Skamania PUD sponsors and supports the following programs: Operation Warm Heart: Administered by Washington Gorge Action Programs (WGAP), this program provides emergency dollars for utility bills to customers in need on a short-term basis. All funds are provided by customer donation, and one hundred percent of the money received goes to help program recipients. Recurring donations and one-time donations can be made by completing the Operation Warm Hart Contribution Form. Home Energy Assistance: This program is available to low-income families and persons of seniority or persons of disabilities who are in danger of losing their heat source in the winter months. Assistance can be provided for almost any heating source, including electricity, natural gas, propane, and wood. WGAP also provides weatherization services. Persons of Seniority and Disabilities: Low income persons of seniority or disabilities may qualify for a special rebate. Further information and forms for these programs can be found on the Home Energy Assistance page.

What is BPA?

The Bonneville Power Administration (BPA) is an American federal agency based in the Pacific Northwest. BPA was created by an act of Congress in 1937 to market electric power from the Bonneville Dam located on the Columbia River and to construct facilities necessary to transmit that power. Congress has since designated the BPA to be the marketing agent for power from all 31 of the federally owned hydroelectric projects in the Pacific Northwest. The BPA, whose headquarters are located in Portland, Oregon, is one of four regional Federal power marketing agencies within the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE). Skamania PUD is a full-service customer of the Bonneville Power Administration (BPA) meaning Skamania PUD by contract purchases all of its electrical energy from BPA.

What is a PUD?

Public Utility Districts (PUDs) are community owned, not-for-profit locally regulated utilities that were created by a vote of the people. Unlike private utilities, PUDs are governed by a nonpartisan board of commissioners who are locally elected and reside in the communities they serve. Under RCW 54, PUDs are authorized to “conserve the water and power resources of the State of Washington for the benefit of the people thereof, and to supply public utility service, including water and electricity for all uses.” In Washington State, 28 PUDs provide electric, water, sewer, and wholesale telecommunications services and have the authority to produce and distribute renewable natural gas and renewable hydrogen. You can find out more about Washington State’s Public Utility Districts at the Washington Sate Public Utility District Association website.

Are there any low-cost / no-cost tips to improve energy efficiency?

Yes! The EPA's Energy Star website is dedicated to saving energy and is continually updated with the newest technology and tips. Skamania PUD also partners with Efficiency Services Group (ESG) to perform free home energy audits and administer rebates for qualifying clothes washer, lighting, insulation, heating and air conditioning, duct sealing, blower door guided air sealing, windows, and new Energy Star® Manufactured Homes. Call ESG at (888) 839-9879 to inquire about Skamania PUD’s rebate program. Please note, rebates are subject to change.

When and where are the skamania PUD board of commissioners meetings held?

You are welcome and encouraged to attend any and all Board of Commissioners meetings. Regular board meetings are held the first and third Tuesday of each month (when the Tuesday is a holiday, the meeting is held the following day). Meetings start at 9 a.m. in the meeting room at the PUD office located at 1492 Wind River Road in Carson, WA. At these meetings, you are given the opportunity to provide comments and feedback to the commissioners and observe the conduct of regular PUD business.

Is a faulty meter causing my high bill?

It’s very unlikely that any high electric usage you are experiencing is a result of a faulty meter. In fact, a malfunctioning meter is more likely to slow down than to speed up. Thus, it is very rare for a meter to register more usage than what is used. A surprise high water bill may indicate a hidden leak inside your home or within the private service line. However, meters can sometimes stop. If you know that you are using power or water and your statement shows no usage for the period, your meter may be stopped. When the PUD discovers a stopped meter, we will replace the faulty meter, and may go back and estimate past months’ billing based on historical data. To ensure accurate billing, please let us know as soon as you are aware that you have a stopped meter.

Why are my electric bills so high even though I make great efforts to conserve?

It’s never a pleasant surprise when your bill seems higher than normal. The cost of heating your home increases as the outside temperature in winter drops. The extent that this affects your electric bill depends on your life style and how energy efficient your home was built: i.e., insulation values of walls, ceilings, floors, doors, windows, skylights; type of heating system; amount of air infiltration; solar orientation; and floor space or volume of your home. Visit the Electric Conservation page for tips and measures you can take to help diagnose or prevent high bills and access our Bill Estimator.

Why do I pay a basic fee each month?

Skamania PUD collects its revenues for electric energy/water delivered to customers in 2 forms: the basic charge and the energy charge. The basic charge supports fixed costs such as improvements, maintenance of substations, poles, wires and transformers, billing and customer service. This is a charge for having service readily available to our customers and is billed no matter how much or if no electricity/water is used. The energy charges are costs that vary based on the total consumption over a specific period of time.

Why separate energy charges (price per kWh) and demand charges (price per kW)?

Electric utilities are sized to meet the maximum usage that all customers of the system may need at any one point in time throughout the year. Separating energy and demand charges, when possible, is important since energy charges are related to total consumption of electricity over a period of time, while demand charges are related to the highest level of electric use at one point in time during a billing period.