By Doug Petrowski
Snohomish County PUD rebated the City of Mountlake Terrace $2,457 for overpayments made to the utility over the past two years, Curt Brees, Mountlake Terrace Public Works Director, announced this week. The overcharges to the city’s electric bill came to light after recent city-wide inventories of street lights and poles conducted by both the City of Mountlake Terrace and the PUD.
Of the 1,370 street poles and lights in Mountlake Terrace, 266 are owned by the city and metered for use by the PUD and 153 are lights owned by the city, mounted on PUD-owned poles and charged a flat-rate for electricity. The remaining 951 poles and lights are owned by the PUD and the city pays a slightly higher flat-rate for usage.
“We felt like there might be some double-billing where we were paying both a flat-rate and a meter rate,” said Brees. “Snohomish County PUD looked at it and agreed.”
The amount refunded to the city represents about 1 percent of the average annual bill for electricity the city uses in its street lights, which is about $120,000. The city should continue to see savings after the inventories and bill analysis, Brees said. “We have seen our monthly bill drop about $100,” he said.
The city’s public works department has higher hopes for energy savings in the future as it pushes for replacement of the standard HPS bulbs used in street lights with LED bulbs. Brees estimates that a change to LED lighting may save the city $20,000 annually. The city continues to analyze the cost for a retrofit of all city street lights.