BILL REQ. #:  H-1215.1 


State of Washington61st Legislature2009 Regular Session

By Representatives Chase, Hasegawa, Liias, and Hudgins

Read first time 01/28/09.   Referred to Committee on Technology, Energy & Communications.

     We, your Memorialists, the Senate and House of Representatives of the State of Washington, in legislative session assembled, respectfully represent and petition as follows:
     WHEREAS, Puget Sound Energy is the largest investor-owned utility in the State of Washington, serving approximately 1.7 million households and hundreds of state agencies and facilities in 11 counties; and
     WHEREAS, Puget Sound Energy provides essential services to millions of Washington State residents with no other means of light, power, or heat; and
     WHEREAS, A decision to approve the sale of Puget Sound Energy to an Australian and Canadian Investment Consortium was narrowly approved by the Washington State Utilities and Transportation Commission on December 30, 2008; and
     WHEREAS, Only two Commissioners approved this sale, with one Commissioner and the Assistant Attorney General Public Counsel charged with protecting the Public Interest, vigorously opposing this sale; and
     WHEREAS, The public has a vital long-term interest in the integrity and financial strength of the owners of utilities, as well as the owners' responsiveness to the public and its government; and
     WHEREAS, Escalating financial and credit market turmoil and other issues raised during and after the record was closed in September 2008, raise questions about the ability of members of the investment consortium to adequately financially support Puget Sound Energy's need for future funding, and the financial viability of the investors themselves; and
     WHEREAS, There are unanswered questions about the huge new Puget Sound Energy debt imposed by this sale, and its future impact on ratepayers and the State General Fund; and
     WHEREAS, The Public Counsel has found, "The strong preponderance of the evidence in the record shows that Puget is able to raise capital necessary to meet its projected capital expenditure requirements, and that the Joint Applicants do not offer a superior or more cost-effective alternative. Approval of this acquisition will increase the business and financial risk of Puget to the detriment of its over one million customers and the Company's own financial health...
     Ratepayers are left as the ultimate guarantor to absorb the increased costs and risks of the (sale of) Puget. The proposed transaction is not in the public interest and should be rejected."; and
     WHEREAS, In his dissent, Commissioner Jones concluded that, "this particular settlement agreement should be rejected. If adopted, it will lead to increased financial risk of harm for PSE and its ratepayers. Because of that harm, the settlement is not shown to be consistent with the public interest and should be returned to a full adjudicative hearing."; and
     WHEREAS, WAC 480-07-870 says that "Any person affected by a final order may file a petition for rehearing."; and
     WHEREAS, If this issue is not reheard before the Washington State Utilities and Transportation Commission, that the Public Counsel be urged to litigate this matter to the fullest extent possible;
     NOW, THEREFORE, Your Memorialists respectfully pray that the Washington State Utilities and Transportation Commission Rehear the Puget Sound Energy/Puget Holdings merger issue; Docket U-072375.
     BE IT RESOLVED, That copies of this Memorial be immediately transmitted to the Washington State Utilities and Transportation Commission.

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