FAQS

New or updated services

  • 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.

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.

To start a new service on behalf on your tenant, a completed signed authorization formis required prior to executing the Start Service In addition, signing up for an Owner Allocation Agreement with PSE ensures that there is no lapse in financial responsibility while allowing you to manage your properties online through MyPSE.

  • If you’re an existing PSE customer, go to Start, Stop or Move Service under the Customer Service 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.

Our staff at the Construction Services Line (1-888-321-7779) can help answer your with your questions regarding any kind of customer construction. You can also visit our construction services webpage for information on how to get started or to find our construction request forms.

Our staff at the Construction Services Line (1-888-321-7779) can help answer your with your questions regarding any kind of customer construction. You can also visit our construction services webpage for information on how to get started or to find our construction request forms.

Electric system

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.

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.

Learn how PSE works to prevent outages through our tree maintenance program.

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.

From 2018 to 2022, Bainbridge Island experienced two island-wide outages during storm conditions. These outages occurred when trees fell on power lines that serve the island from across Agate Pass. During this same time, the Winslow Substation had 10 outages and the Murden Cove Substation had two outages. In addition, the Winslow Tap experienced 10 sustained outages (longer than a minute), and the Murden Cove Tap had one sustained outage. 

In comparison to other places in PSE’s service area, Bainbridge Island experiences more outages. On Bainbridge Island, the customers along the Winslow Tap experience the most outages. This trend is consistent during the last 10 years.  

Some of these outages could have been avoided, if our electric system on the island had a transmission line loop, better access and more reliable equipment. We are improving electric reliability with the hybrid solution for Bainbridge Island. The Murden Cove-Winslow 115 kV transmission line will connect the Murden Cove and Winslow substations, increasing electric reliability with a loop system. By replacing aging equipment and improving access, we would reduce the number and duration of outages along the Winslow Tap line. 

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.

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 psebainbridge.participate.online to learn more.

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.

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

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.

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.

A transmission line connects to a substation, which connects to distribution lines that serve customers.

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

A transmission line experiences a fault, causing customers connected by distribution lines to lose power.

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.

A transmission line connects to a substation, which connects to distribution lines that serve customers.

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.

A distribution line experiences a fault, causing customers downstream to lose power.

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.

A distribution circuit connects to three lateral distribution lines.

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

Two lateral lines experience faults, causing customers downstream to lose power.

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

Two lateral lines experience faults. One line can be looped, and outage time reduced.

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. 

From 2018 to 2022, Bainbridge Island experienced two island-wide outages during storm conditions. These outages occurred when trees fell on power lines that serve the island from across Agate Pass. During this same time, the Winslow Substation had 10 outages and the Murden Cove Substation had two outages. In addition, the Winslow Tap experienced 10 sustained outages (longer than a minute), and the Murden Cove Tap had one sustained outage. 

In comparison to other places in PSE’s service area, Bainbridge Island experiences more outages. On Bainbridge Island, the customers along the Winslow Tap experience the most outages. This trend is consistent during the last 10 years.  

Some of these outages could have been avoided, if our electric system on the island had a transmission line loop, better access and more reliable equipment. We are improving electric reliability with the hybrid solution for Bainbridge Island. The Murden Cove-Winslow 115 kV transmission line will connect the Murden Cove and Winslow substations, increasing electric reliability with a loop system. By replacing aging equipment and improving access, we would reduce the number and duration of outages along the Winslow Tap line. 

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.

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

PSE plans to shut down Colstrip Units 1 and 2 by the end of 2019. 

In light of the Clean Energy Transformation Act that requires all electric utilities in Washington to remove coal from their portfolios by 2025, PSE is evaluating all of our options for our continued interest in the remaining units.

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.

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.

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.

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

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Energy efficiency is the conscientious choice to reduce your household’s or business’ energy use. PSE customers can lower their bills and limit their environmental footprint by using the many energy efficiency tools, rebates, grants and resources provided by PSE. 

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.

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. 

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

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.

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.

The UTC considers public input when they decide whether PSE should be allowed to increase rates. Typically they provide several public comment opportunities where customers can weigh in on the proposal. 

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. 

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.

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