When the costs, responsibility and ownership of running an electric utility are taken over by a city, the transfer is known as "municipalization." The City of Bainbridge Island is considering taking over the electric system from PSE. PSE disagrees with a possible municipalization of Bainbridge Island's electric system for the following reasons:
- PSE is not for sale. We are invested in this community, having developed and maintained the electric infrastructure on the Island for decades and supported dozens of community organizations through our sponsorships and grants. Because this infrastructure is not for sale, the City would need to go through a lengthy and expensive legal process called condemnation to purchase the electric system from PSE. Customers ultimately would pay these costs in rates.
- Municipalization would be expensive for customers. PSE commissioned a preliminary feasibility study to give Bainbridge Island residents a detailed assessment of the costs and risks of a City-owned electric utility. According to the study, a City-owned electric utility would cost City of Bainbridge taxpayers $146.8 million upfront and millions more to operate. Concentric Energy Advisors, a management consulting and financial advisory firm focused on the North American energy industry, authored the study. For highlights of the study, read the one-page summary that Concentric developed.
- PSE is committed to reliability and sustainability. PSE has years of experience providing safe, reliable, efficient power for Bainbridge Island. During storms and other emergencies, PSE coordinates the entire restoration effort using our large network of local storm bases, emergency operations center and over 200 staff for Bainbridge Island and Kitsap County alone. It would be challenging for the smaller, less experienced City utility to provide the same level of emergency response services, infrastructure maintenance and expensive reliability improvements. PSE's larger size also helps us provide substantial solar power incentives to our customers. The United States government sets the amount of incentives, which is based on a utility's customer base: there are 1.1 million PSE customers; just over 12,000 customers are on Bainbridge Island.
Ways to get involved
- Learn about the City’s municipalization proposal and what it could mean for you.
- Contact City Council with your questions or concerns.
- Sign up for our monthly email newsletter to receive regular updates on the municipalization process.