Utilities to calculate tax savings; ratepayers could benefit

Saturday, 13 Jan, 2018

The investigation was prompted by a cut in corporate income tax rates, as that tax is one factor in determining electric and gas rates.

The move follows Congress' recent passing of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, which included a federal corporate tax rate reduction from 35 to 21 percent. State law authorizes the UTC to determine how much profit regulated energy, telecom and water companies can earn and what rates the companies can charge its customers.

"We are now analyzing the impact of the tax changes on the cost of service to our customers, and are committed to ensuring that customers benefit from the new tax law", Xcel Energy said in a statement.

Otter Tail spokeswoman Cris Oehler said the company is working with commission staff on adjusting a rate increase it requested in November, before the tax legislation passed.

Customers will not see immediate reduced rates or bill credits.

"It stands to reason that, when you see line items on rate cases for taxes, that when you drop that amount 14 percent, there's going to be a savings", Fedorchak said.

The Republican tax plan passed Congress late previous year before President Donald Trump signed it just before Christmas.

Puget Sound Energy, Pacific Power and Light, and Northwest Natural Gas have filed petitions that outline the potential changes to their 2018 taxes and the estimated potential in excess earnings. This reduction will impact numerous UTC's regulated companies. The UTC will assess these filings and incorporate the results into future rate cases.