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Puget Sound Energy proposes rate hikes

Breaking 100 isn’t always a good thing.

According to a press release from Puget Sound Energy (PSE), the typical household electricity bill paid by residents is a little more than $90.

This November a proposed increase to the Washington Utilities and Transportation Commission (WUTC) would push the average to more than $100.

For the typical home, which uses about 1,000 kilowatt hours of electricity per month, residents can expect to see an increase of 11.66 percent, or $10.65, added to their electric bill. PSE also requested an increased natural gas rate. Based on typical usage, residents will see a 5.6 percent hike or about $4.60 added per month. With the proposed additions, typical household bills would be $101.91 for electric and $86.68 for natural gas, according to the press release.

If approved by WUTC, the rate hike takes effect Nov. 1.

The increase stems from the rising cost of volatile oil and natural gas, in addition to the pressure of constant competition for available energy resources, said Eric Markell PSE chief financial officer and executive vice president of rates and regulations.

“With rising steel, copper and fuel prices, a tightening of the global competition for resources, and a weak U.S. dollar, the cost of doing business has increased and will continue to increase,” he stated in a press release.

Dorothy Bracken, PSE spokesperson, said Kitsap County residents can expect to find a comment card in their mailbox in April or May to encourage public comment.

Fred Nelson, vice chairman for the Greater Hansville Area Advisory Council, just received his comment card with his bill.

“They already had one great increase last year, this is another pretty significant one yet again,” Nelson said. “It’s an interesting thing because it’s going to have an impact on Hansville because there are a lot of people out here who are retired and have fixed incomes.”

Nelson said he already has a higher than average bill because he has all electric heat and heat pump.

“This last month my bill was $154,” he said. “The increase is set up at 11 percent but if you just look at 10 percent of that, it’s already more than the projected additional $10. It’s going to be more like $16 or $17 additional for me.”

Dorothy Bracken, PSE spokesperson doesn’t expect WUTC to make a decision soon.

“The process involves an 11-month review that is quite evolved,” she said in a phone call interview. “It is a judicial review of costs and if they were prudently spent.”

The increase is expected to amount to $174.5 million. Plans for the hike will be put toward the higher power costs ($55 million), storm-recovery ($20 million) and maintenance and operations expenses ($19.2 million). The press release stated the expected $56.6 million gained from the natural gas hike will go toward recovering costs in infrastructure, reliability improvements and servicing new customers.

Comments can also be made at the top of WUTC’s Web site at www.wutc.wa.gov.

The WUTC will host public meetings throughout the state to address concerns. None are scheduled for Kitsap County.

“Ardis, Do You Have a Story for Us?” a collection of favorite Ardis Morrow jokes.

POULSBO — The Poulsbo-North Kitsap Rotary Club meets for breakfast each Friday morning.

And each Friday morning, on their agenda is the same question:

“Ardis, do you have a story for us?”

And she certainly does.

Ardis Morrow, an 82-year-old Rotary club member and advocate working against domestic violence, has been entertaining her fellow Rotarians with quirky anecdotes and jokes for years. Now those tales have been compiled to help bring awareness to the issue closest to her heart.

The book, aptly titled “Ardis, Do You Have a Story for Us?,” is not just a collection of Morrow’s favorite crowd-pleasers, but also tells the story of Eli Creekmore, Morrow’s 3-year-old, great-grandnephew who was fatally beaten by his father in 1986.

Since, Morrow has become an expert on the issue as a way to deal with her grief.

“I began to educate myself about the problem and not just in Kitsap County or Washington state but in the world,” she said. “What I found out is that so many victims need so much help.”

She went on to campaign for changes in child protection laws, testify before state legislature and ultimately influence the passing of a law requiring perpetrators, rather than victims, to be removed from their homes.

She also established Eli’s Place, a local transition house for battered women and children that provides a safe haven from domestic abuse.

The book also tells Morrow’s story and includes photos of her, her family and sketches she drew that accompany each anecdote.

While humbly giving credit for the book to Rotarian Marlene Mitchell, who was a major force in developing it, Morrow keeps her focus on the help it can provide.

All proceeds will go to Domestic Violence Prevention.

“If this is going to help anybody get away from a violent controller, then I’m so grateful,” she said.

Rotary Club president Donna Strep said the book is proof positive of the community treasure Morrow is, and though she’s been familiar with Eli’s Story for some time, reading through it once again brought her to tears.

“The whole thing is so moving and compelling,” she said. “People just don’t realize what one person can do to make the world better. It was because of the Eli story, because of the horrible things that happened, that she decided to make a difference, and boy has she.”

A limited number of books will be printed with a special DVD, on which the PBS production, “The Unquiet Death of Eli Creekmore,” can be seen. Footage of Morrow telling her infamous tales will also be included.

Limited edition copies will be sold for $50, regular editions for $20.

The books will be officially for sale on April 19 at the Rotary Club’s annual auction. Books can be reserved now by contacting the North Kitsap Herald at (360) 779-4464.

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