New or updated services

Start, Stop or Move service

  • How do I start electric service with PSE?

    • It's easy to start service with PSE. If you’re an existing PSE customer and have a PSE online account, you can sign into your account to update your account and start service. You can also start service using your PSE account number.
    • If you are a new customer, go to the "Start Service" page and select "I am new to PSE's service area," then click "Continue." Fill out the "Start New Service" information in order to start your account.
  • How do I stop electric service with PSE?

    • It’s easy to stop service on pse.com. Just sign into your PSE online account and visit “Start, Stop or Move” under the “Account & Billing” tab. Or, if you don’t have a PSE online account, you can still stop service via pse.com. Either enter your PSE account number or your service address and phone number, along with the identifying information you used when you started service.
  • How do I move my electric service from my current address to my new address?

    • If you’re an existing PSE customer, go to Start, Stop or Move Service under the Account & Billing tab on the homepage. We'll guide you through stopping service at your old address and commencing service at your new location, all in one transaction.
    • If you’re a new PSE customer, visit the Start Service page and select "I am new to PSE's service area," then click "Continue." Fill out the "Start New Service" information in order to start your account. Don’t forget to notify your current electric utility to end service at your previous location.

Construction services

Electric system

Reliability

  • How do you improve reliability?

    There are two fundamental ways to improve reliability. The first is to eliminate the cause of the outage.  The second is to create redundancy in the electric system – which means creating system flexibility that provides alternative options to reroute power to keep the lights on when damage happens to one part of the system. The best practice is to use both strategies.

  • What causes power outages on Bainbridge Island?

    Reliable energy for our customers is one of Puget Sound Energy’s (PSE's) top priorities. There are a few challenges unique to Bainbridge Island that increase the likelihood of outages:

    Geography: Being an island is one of the biggest challenges to electric reliability because there is no neighboring infrastructure to serve as back-up.  

    Weather, trees and geography: Bainbridge Island is situated in a location that is often impacted by high winds and winter storms. High winds and tall trees create a recipe for outages. In fact, trees are the number one cause for outages on Bainbridge Island.

    Limited redundancy: The Island is served by three substations, however two of the three substations have only one source of power, with one transmission line. It's best practice to “loop” substations with two transmission lines. When substations are looped, if one line goes out, the other line will still feed the substation and provide power to customers. This configuration is considered to be a best practice for reducing the duration and frequency of outages.

  • What is PSE doing to improve reliability?

    While there are unique challenges, our goal is to improve reliability. PSE invests every year to improve electric reliability on Bainbridge Island. We’ve invested over $29 million since 2010 in upgrades and improvements to the system, including:

    • Rebuilt the Port Madison transmission line.
    • Rebuilt Agate Pass towers.
    • Undergrounded distribution lines where technically feasible. Refer to the FAQ in the next section for information about how we determine which lines to put underground, and how that's paid for.
    • Replaced miles of distribution with tree wire (specically coated wire that's less susceptible to falling branches). 
    • Trimmed trees near overhead power lines.
  • How is PSE planning for future reliability challenges?

    We shared our plans to improve electric reliability at a community meeting on October 17, 2019. Our proposed plan is a unique solution designed for Bainbridge Island - combining new technologies and grid infrastructure to ensure safe, dependable power for families and businesses for years to come. Visit pse.com/bainbridge to learn more.

Undergrounding Power Lines

  • Can PSE underground distribution lines and how are they paid for?

    Yes, we can underground lower-voltage distribution lines. However, there is cost sharing involved.  

    Our state regulators determine how underground lines are funded. The basic principle is cost sharing. If undergrounding is needed for technical reasons (e.g., not enough physical room to build an overhead line safely), then PSE pays for the undergrounding of the power lines and spreads the project costs over all 1.1 million customers. This helps keep costs low for all of our customers. On Bainbridge Island, around 56 percent (~177 miles) of distribution lines are already undergrounded. We also typically underground lines in new developments because the City of Bainbridge Island requires it and costs are shared by the developer.

    If a jurisdiction or community wants to underground an existing overhead distribution line then there are cost sharing mechanisms in place through the Schedule 74 tariff. For example, if the City of Bainbridge Island wants lines undergrounded as part of a public improvement project, the cost is split 60/40 – PSE pays 60 percent of the costs and the local jurisdiction pays 40 percent plus trenching and restoration.

    For more information, see our distribution undergrounding fact sheet.

  • Can transmission lines be undergrounded?

    Yes, PSE can build transmission lines underground. However, it is up to the community to decide whether to invest in it. State regulations require PSE to first consider building overhead transmission lines because of their combination of reliability and affordability, both of which are important to our customers. 

    When a new line is constructed overhead, project costs are distributed evenly between PSE’s 1.1 million customers. Undergrounding is an option, but under these regulations underground transmission lines are considered a “local option” and the local community must pay the cost difference between overhead and underground lines. Most communities decide not to invest in undergrounding transmission lines because they have other investment priorities.

    For more information, see our transmission undergrounding fact sheet

Emergency Response and Outages

  • What is PSE’s approach to managing storms?

    When PSE customers lose power, there is no higher priority for us than getting it safely restored. In a large storm, hundreds of PSE employees and our partners work tirelessly to get the lights back on. We open our local storm bases and emergency operations center, working around the clock to restore power and provide customers with information. We bring in additional crews from Canada, Oregon and Montana to help bolster our response. We also coordinate closely with emergency medical and fire services, government bodies, schools, businesses and the media.

    Our strategy is carefully choreographed yet highly flexible, designed to change quickly in response to unanticipated events. This approach is the result of decades of experience, millions of dollars of investment in restoration technology and an employee culture that thrives in emergency situations. Moreover, this is an instance where PSE’s size gives us extra flexibility in tailoring our response to the situation.

    A new tool we now can deploy is a warning email letting you know your power is out with an estimated time of restoration. This tool helps you plan if the power goes out while you’re out of the house.

  • What causes power outages on Bainbridge Island?

    The most common cause of power outages in the Pacific Northwest, including Bainbridge Island, is tree-related damage. Outages can be caused by branches coming in contact with power lines as well trees falling through lines.  

    Bainbridge Island is also especially vulnerable to outages since two of the three substations on the Island have only one source of power – one transmission line. It is best practice to feed a substation with two lines - or “loop” the substation. When substations are looped, they provide a redundant source of electricity for each other, therefore reducing the duration and frequency of outages. 

    Transmission outages affect the largest number of customers.

    In this example, one local 115 kV transmission line serves 4,000 customers.

    If the transmission line serving the customers experiences a fault, the power does not reach the substation and all 4,000 customers served by the substation lose power.

    Distribution outages affect fewer customers, but are more frequent.

    In this next example, the local 115 kV transmission line connects to a substation, which delivers the power to four distribution circuits of 1,000 customers each.

    If one of the distribution lines experiences a fault near the substation, all 1,000 customers served by the circuit lose power. The other three circuits do not lose power.

    In this example, a distribution circuit serves 1,000 customers. Lateral lines from the circuit serve 50 customers each. 

    If a lateral line experiences a fault, all customers downstream lose power. 

    If the lateral line experiences a fault but can loop back with the circuit, PSE can close the looped lateral and reduce the outage time to all 50 customers. Power is restored to customers on the unlooped line once the fault is repaired. 

  • How does PSE decide where to make repairs first?

    There’s a science to restoring customers as quickly and efficiently as possible. We start as close to the source of generation as we can and work our way down the transmission lines to the smaller distribution circuits that feed communities and neighborhoods. Why? Because until we’ve found and repaired the damage to our large transmission lines we won’t know the extent of the damage further down the line. This method also ensures that the largest amount of customers have their power restored as quickly as possible. We also prioritize essential services, such as hospitals, water systems, energy and transportation.

Fuel Mix and Renewables

  • Is PSE moving toward clean electric generation?

    PSE currently has a diversified electricity supply. While more than a third comes from clean hydro and wind, we know our customers want cleaner sources of energy. We’re already taking steps toward the goal of a better energy future and the action by the state legislature will enable us to move further, faster. We’re working on our plan to eliminate coal-fired generation; we are shutting down Colstrip units 1 and 2 by the end of 2019, and the remaining units by 2025, and transitioning to a carbon-neutral electric supply by 2030 with the goal of going carbon-free by 2045.

    PSE was an early leader in offering clean energy options. We’ve invested billions in renewable energy, including three wind farms in Washington State, and we’re the -third largest utility producer of wind power in the United States. Learn more here:

    https://www.pse.com/pages/energy-supply/electric-supply

  • What is PSE doing to reduce carbon emissions?

    PSE is committed to reducing carbon emissions. Working together with our customers, we’ve already taken steps in that direction, including a commitment to reducing our carbon footprint, retiring coal-fired power plants and investing in wind and solar projects right here in Washington. As a result of our work with the Washington State Legislature, we’re able to accelerate the transition to a clean energy future, allowing us to move further faster.

    • We worked alongside the Washington State Legislature to develop historic legislation in 2019 to accelerate the transition to a clean energy future. This means moving up the coal transition date to 2025, advancing cleaner transportation, and providing a carbon-neutral electric supply by 2030 and carbon-free electricity by 2045.
    • Colstrip Units 1 and 2 are scheduled to close by the end of this year, meaning PSE is well on the way to transitioning away from coal generation by 2025.

    Together with our Bainbridge Island customers, we’ll improve reliability, ensure we can continue to meet your energy needs and create a better energy future.

  • Does PSE invest in local, clean energy projects?

    PSE and Bainbridge Islanders have something in common: a passion for innovative, cleaner electricity.

    In December 2017, PSE partnered with Pleasant Beach Village and Impact Bioenergy to continue a biodigester pilot project which started on Bainbridge in the fall of 2016. Impact Bioenergy is a Seattle-based startup that builds small biodigesters to turn food waste into energy. The biodigester uses food waste from the four village restaurants and converts it into organic fertilizer used by local farms and electric energy for the village.

  • How can I help bring more renewable energy to the market?

    PSE Green Power and Solar Choice are two renewable energy programs available to all PSE electric customers. Both programs give you a way to match your electricity use with clean, renewable energy. PSE administers these programs but cannot profit from them.

    Solar Choice

    Solar Choice allows customers to match some, or all, of the electricity they use with clean, solar energy. As a participant, panels will not be installed on your home. Instead, solar energy is generated at a separate location and added to the power grid on your behalf. Every $5 you spend buys 150 kilowatt-hours of solar power generated in Washington or Idaho.

    In addition to supporting clean solar power, this program reduces your home’s carbon footprint. For the average home, annual electricity emissions could be little less than 12,500 pounds of carbon dioxide equivalent. With a $20 per month contribution for Solar Choice (matching about 60 percent of the average home’s usage); annual electricity emissions would be reduced to less than 4,500 pounds of carbon dioxide equivalent. As of 2019, there are 139 participants on Bainbridge Island.

    Diagram shows an example of how the solar choice program works. A household creating 10,596 pounds of carbon dioxide a month pays a bill of $92.95. With $20 of solar choice, their emissions decrease to 4,238 pounds of carbon dioxide with a bill of $112.95

     

    Green Power

    While Solar Choice supports 100 percent solar, Green Power supports a blend of resources. The program is funded by voluntary purchases from our customers, which creates an environment for small, green power producers (e.g., dairy digesters, independent wind farms, etc.) to bring their projects on line.

    Your carbon footprint is also reduced supporting Green Power – the average customer can match 100 percent of their electricity usage for $10 per month 1,319 customers on Bainbridge Island were participating in this program in 2019.

    Diagram shows an example of Green Power. A household creates 10,596 pounds of carbon dioxide and pays $92.95 per month for electricity. By adding $10 of green power per month, the household reduces their emissions to 0.89 pounds of carbon dioxide and pays $102.95 per month.

  • I want my energy bill to go towards clean energy sources. Is that possible?

    Yes, by signing up for PSE’s Green Power and Solar Choice programs, you can increase green energy resources in the Pacific Northwest right now.

    For a small additional payment of $4 to $12, we can match all or a portion of your energy usage with clean, renewable power from independent producers in the region. A commitment to the Green Power program makes it possible for local energy innovators in wind, solar, landfill gas and agricultural waste to bring new renewable generation to the market with funding that would otherwise not be available. A commitment to the Solar Choice program helps bring new solar power generation to the northwest, right here in Washington and neighboring Idaho.

Community involvement and energy solutions

Community Involvement

  • What is PSE’s history on Bainbridge Island?

    Since the early 20th century, PSE has been part of the Bainbridge Island community. We’ve grown alongside the island, from its beginnings as a mill and shipping town with just under 1,000 residents to the vibrant community of businesses and neighborhoods that is now home to nearly 25,000 people. 

    We work hard to balance the Island’s energy needs with your desire to remain a sustainable, environmentally friendly and naturally beautiful community. We deeply values our relationships with our Bainbridge Island customers, and we're proud of the leadership we've shown on the Island beyond our obligation to provide safe, reliable and efficient energy. 

  • How does PSE give back?

    PSE is committed to being a good corporate citizen in the communities we serve. We support and participate in many events and initiatives, especially those related to energy efficiency, renewable energy, safety and emergency preparedness. We also support other community events, organizations and projects that make Bainbridge Island a better place to live and work. 

    As a significant economic and jobs contributor in the Puget Sound region, PSE chooses to be a leader in our communities. Our community involvement on Bainbridge Island demonstrates our long-standing dedication to being not just a good utility, but also a good neighbor. 

  • How does PSE help Bainbridge Islanders prepare for emergencies?

    No matter where you live, having an emergency preparedness plan for your family is a good idea. Natural and man-made disasters, including earthquakes, floods and landslides, have the ability to disrupt public and emergency services for days, weeks or even months. 

    PSE is dedicated to ensuring our customers’ safety– that’s why we sponsor emergency preparedness initiatives every year. 

    On Bainbridge Island, PSE is a sponsor of Three Days of Preparedness, an annual event that teaches Islanders to prepare for and survive a disaster. 

  • How does PSE support organizations on Bainbridge Island?

    PSE supports Island organizations through the PSE foundation, which is funded by our owners. This video showcases our ongoing commitment to organizations that make Bainbridge Island a great place to live and work.

    For eample, in 2016 the foundation made a $50,000 grant to Island Church to support their new emergency generator.

    PSE’s corporate giving program also supports many other Island groups, agencies and non-profits. In 2019, we were proud to sponsor: 

    • Bainbridge Island Boys & Girls Club 
    • Bainbridge Island Chamber of Commerce 
    • Bainbridge Island Downtown Association
    • Bainbridge Island Parks Foundation
    • Bainbridge Youth Services
    • Bloedel Reserve
    • Helpline House
    • West Sound Wildlife Shelter
    • Bainbridge Island Historical Museum
    • Bainbridge Island Museum of Art
    • BI Rotary
    • Housing Resources Bainbridge
    • KiDiMu
    • Studio Tour
    • West Sound Technology Association
    • Bainbridge Prepares
    • Indipino Community of Bainbridge Island and vicinity
  • Who pays for PSE's donations and sponsorships?

    One-hundred percent of PSE’s charitable contributions are paid for by PSE’s owners and employees. Additionally, one of the benefits provided to our employees is matching their donations to local organizations. This allows employees to support causes of importance to their own communities within our service territory. We also support employee volunteer opportunities, such as the annual Rotary Auction on Bainbridge Island. PSE provided more than 75 hours of volunteering with 20 staff members helping out at the 2019 Rotary Auction and Rummage Sale.

Energy Efficiency

  • How do PSE’s energy efficiency programs help the environment?

    Any type of energy, even wind and solar, has some environmental impact. In addition to reducing greenhouse gas emissions, energy efficiency helps improve air quality in your community and can delay the need to build new energy generation facilities and infrastructure.

  • Why is PSE considered to be a leader in energy efficiency?

    Since 1979, no other utility in the Northwest has helped customers save more energy than PSE. 

    Our energy efficiency programs have helped PSE customers save enough electricity to power a total of almost 500,000 homes for a whole year. In 2014 alone our customers saved enough electricity to power 25,000 homes. 

    PSE has helped our customers reach this amazing accomplishment through our innovative approach to energy efficiency, made possible by our size, our experience and our commitment to environmental leadership.

    Between 2014 and 2018, we invested more than $2.5 million in energy efficiency funding to help residents and businesses on Bainbridge Island. 

  • What Energy Efficiency tools does PSE offer to customers?

    PSE helps customers reduce their energy use with tools and services such as: 

    • Rebates and incentives on a wide variety of energy-efficient appliances and products, including washing machines, shower heads, light bulbs, water heaters and windows. 
    • Home and business energy retrofit resources and grants. Our customers include the Bainbridge Island Aquatic Center.
    • 12 Energy Advisors providing personalized phone-based customer service to PSE customers who want to reduce their energy use.

System ownership, regulations and rates

PSE Rates

  • How does PSE decide what to charge customers for electricity?

    The rate that we charge customers for electricity reflects the many costs that go into running a safe and efficient utility, including:

    • Price of electricity. 
    • Cost of delivering it to your home or business.
    • Cost of building and maintaining infrastructure to ensure reliable electricity for our customers.
  • Can PSE increase rates whenever they want?

    As a Washington state-regulated utility, we follow a structured judicial process and review system for requests to change rates. Washington state law requires that state-regulated utility rates must be reasonable to customers, providing utilities a chance to recover legitimate costs and earn a fair profit. PSE’s rate cases (taking 11 months) are heard in a formal, legal setting, with the Washington Utilities and Transportation Commission (UTC) hearing evidence from all parties before issuing a decision.

  • How does PSE pay for capital improvements and how are they put into rates?

    PSE is a heavily regulated investor-owned utility whose actions are carefully monitored and reviewed by the UTC. In order to build needed upgrades to the electrical system, we invest the money upfront. Once these capital upgrades are “live” (power is flowing through the lines and customers are receiving power from those lines), we then submit the amount of the capital investment to the UTC. The UTC reviews the investments for prudency before these amounts can impact rates. All of PSE’s work must pass muster.

    Once the costs of upgrades or additions to our electrical infrastructure are approved by the UTC, they are shared by all of PSE’s 1.1 million customers and paid for over time. 

  • What options do customers have if they’re unhappy with their service?

    When PSE’s customers have concerns about the way our business decisions are made, they have several options including lodging a formal complaint with the UTC. While we always attempt to act in all of our customers’ best interest, this set of checks and balances gives our customers confidence that their interests are protected by independent consumer advocates.

Income-eligible Programs

  • What type of bill assistance programs does PSE offer?

    PSE offers two programs to help ease the burden for financially struggling households.

    PSE HELP (Home Energy Lifeline Program) provides customers with assistance paying their energy bill. In Kitsap County, PSE provides over $600,000 of bill assistance each year. 

    PSE Weatherization Assistance Program provides free assistance to qualifying customers who need help lowering their energy usage and bills. 

    Both of these programs are designed to supplement the assistance offered by local and federally funded agencies. 

    Learn more: https://www.pse.com/pages/bill-and-weatherization-assistance