Why Isn’t PSE More Reliable?

Another outage on Bainbridge Island that could have been prevented by undergrounding more electric lines
Another outage on Bainbridge Island that could have been prevented by undergrounding more electric lines

Power Outages in Kitsap are Bad and Getting Worse
PSE’s poor reliability record in Kitsap County is a major factor for Islanders to consider as Bainbridge Island studies the feasibility of establishing a nonprofit power utility.

Kitsap has the worst reliability of any county served by PSE
PSE’s March 2016 electric service reliability report to the Washington Utilities and Transportation Commission (WUTC) shows that PSE’s reliability in Kitsap is the worst of the eight counties that it serves (see pages 101-102). What’s more, PSE’s report shows that the number of outages and how long they last in Kitsap have gotten much worse over the past three years.

Most public utilities in Washington State are more reliable than PSE
Nearby public power utilities like Seattle City Light, Port Angeles Electric, Peninsula Light (Gig Harbor) and Snohomish PUD are much more reliable.

PSE’s own report confirms the bad outage trend in Kitsap County
Click here to see PSE’s own report to its state regulator that confirms its spiral of unreliability in Kitsap County in recent years. Page 102 of PSE’s report shows that the average number of hours of outages for customers in Kitsap County (“SAIDI”) were over 5 hours in 2013, over 10 hours in 2014, and nearly 30 hours in 2015.

Click here to see the Snohomish PUD’s detailed reliability report. Snohomish PUD, which serves a rural, forested territory like Bainbridge, has less than half the number of outages and one fourth the average outage duration of those endured by PSE’s Kitsap customers like us on Bainbridge.

Why would public power be more reliable than PSE?
With a local public utility on Bainbridge, we’d have island-based crews, and we could choose to make investments in undergrounding and in smart grid technology. Each of those steps could significantly improve power reliability on Bainbridge Island.

What are our higher rates to PSE paying for?
What is clear is that PSE’s increasing rates (such as an 11% increase this year over last) are not delivering more reliable power. It’s well past time for Bainbridge Island to join the 62 other not-for-profit public power utilities that reliably serve most of Washington’s communities.