Power outages: Puget Sound Energy offers $50 credits

Ryan Thomas of Federal Way
Ryan Thomas of Federal Way's Public Works department helps clear a fallen tree from S. 333rd Street on the morning of Jan. 19, 2012.
— image credit: Courtesy of the City of Federal Way

Puget Sound Energy is offering a $50 credit on utility bills for any customers who experienced a power outage for five or more days after the recent winter storm.

According to PSE, state regulators granted the utility's request to waive certain conditions with which it's constrained in awarding such credits, namely the condition that customers have to "opt in" for the credit. Because of the waiver, all customers who experienced power loss of five days or more will receive the credit, regardless of whether they informed PSE of their troubles.

The utility indicates customers can expect to see the credit on their bills beginning Feb. 15. The cost will be covered by PSE, the utility notes, so no additional costs will be passed on to customers.

Overall, more than 250,000 people lost power as snow and ice coated the region Jan. 18-19. Nearly 30,000 customers lost power in Federal Way, which saw up to 5.5 inches of snow. The weight of the snow, and subsequent ice from freezing rain, caused tree limbs to snap and power lines to collapse. On Jan. 24, five days after the power outages hit the city, around 1,200 PSE customers still lacked power in Federal Way.

"The prolonged power outages from the storms created a real hardship for many of our customers," said Sue McLain, PSE senior vice president of delivery operations. "The bill credit won't take back the dark evenings and chill in the bone that many families experienced. Rather, it is a gesture of our appreciation for their understanding and patience."

McLain said that both customers and employees of PSE showed respect and understanding during those few days.

"Our customers were frustrated by the lengthy outages, of course, but they were also very understand of the difficult conditions our crews faced in getting their lights back on as soon as it was safe to do so," she said. "We thank them for their patience and want to ensure their continued confidence in PSE by providing them with the credit without their having to request or apply for it."

Customers who lost power for 120 consecutive hours or more in the aftermath of the recent winter storms should see the credit appear on their Feb. 15 bill. If it does not appear, customers may contact PSE at (888) 225-5773.


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