To the Editor:

Ellensburg utilities have been expensive, but with the gigantic rate increase effective April 1 this year, Ellensburg dramatically pulled away from the rest of the state. And besides being the highest, the biggest impact is to the households that conserve, just the opposite as it should be. What I mean is when rates are increased, the daily fixed rate is always raised more than use rates. The more you use the less the percent increase. People that conserve are heavily penalized.

Using my February usage, my power charge would be $54.10 as compared to $27.30 in Selah, $32.82 in Ephrata and Quincy, and $35.21 in Seattle. In the PSE area of Kittitas County, my bill would be $36.83. I am focusing here on electrical power as Ellensburg is far and away higher than anyone else especially for the lower consumption people and the reason is the very high fixed rate of 92 cents per day compared to Seattle at 18 cents per day. Selah is 23, PSE is 25 and Quincy/Ephrata at 55 cents per day. Ephrata/Quincy is actually the lowest if you are not a low user as their consumption charge is low.

Our bill contains charges for storm water, natural gas, water, sewer, and electrical power. Each has a daily fixed fee and natural gas, water and electricity have usage or consumption fees. In the past, the fixed fee has increased much more than the consumption fee so if you do not use any natural gas, water or electricity, you pay $114.26 for a 30 day month. Each year the usage rate is increased by much less than the fixed rate and the more you use the less the increase.

The rate structure is just the opposite it should be. We should have lower fixed rates like the rest of the state and higher rates for the higher users. Now is the time to contact your city council members as another like rate increase is already on the books to take effect on Jan 1, 2020.

This year, the fixed rate for storm water increased 25.4%, natural gas 17%, water 7%, sewer 3.5% and electrical power 22.7%(over two years, up 60% in the last 4 years). The consumption rate increases for the lowest user are water up 5.85% and electrical power 8.9% (again for two years). Natural gas consumption is a variable.

Richard Pearson

Ellensburg

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