Energize Eastside North Segment Call To Action
Add Your Voice to CENSE’s Objection to the Project
On Thursday November 9, 2023, there will be a public hearing on the “North Segment” of PSE’s Energize Eastside project. At the hearing, CENSE will ask for the case to be denied and sent back to City Staff for further study.
You can help by attending the meeting (online or in-person) and sending an e-mail to the Hearing Examiner in support of CENSE’s position. Further details on the hearing, how to participate, and CENSE’s position are provided below.
We appreciate your involvement!
How to Participate
Written and/or oral comments are most effective. If you choose not to comment, simply attending the hearing in-person or on Zoom will demonstrate to the Hearing Examiner your interest and concern about this project.
- Written comments can be submitted via e-mail to the Hearing Examiner at [email protected]. The e-mail must be received by 3 p.m. on Thursday, November 9. In your comments, refer to the legal issues below if possible, or simply state your position. Be sure to include your name and address.
- Oral comments may be delivered at the public hearing in-person or on Zoom. To give oral comments, you must sign up by 3 p.m. on Thursday, November 9th. Signup using this link.
The City of Bellevue is holding a public hearing before the city’s Hearing Examiner. This is a “Pre-Decision hearing” on PSE’s application for CUP approval. The city staff plan to recommend approval of the “North Segment” of Energize Eastside.
CENSE is asking the Hearing Examiner to deny PSE’s request, and to remand the North Segment case back to City Staff, seeking documentation required by the City’s Land Use Code 20.20.255.
CENSE Case Details
CENSE will make the following points in support of our case:
- The “Need Analysis” for the North Segment must be updated, especially in view of the impact of the completion of the South Segment with additional transformers. An independent load flow analysis is needed. It must be public, transparent, and verifiable by qualified expertise. PSE has not been forthright in providing needed data to the city.
- Ref: LUC 20.20.255.E.3: “The applicant shall demonstrate that an operational need exists that requires the location or expansion of the proposed project“
- The “Technology Alternatives” analysis must be updated. The original EIS was written between 2015 and 2017. Since then, demand response, batteries and solar have become practical and economically competitive.
- Ref: LUC 20.20.255.D.3.a: “Describe the range of technologies considered for the proposed electrical facility“
For your background and information, following is a brief summary of Energize Eastside significant events over the last 10 years:
- In late 2013, PSE announced Energize Eastside (EE) and followed up with a privately selected Community Advisory Group (CAG) to study the alternatives for replacement of their current 115,000 Volt Transmission Line through five Eastside cities.
- This resulted in only current technology overhead routes being studied. A minority report was issued claiming the process did not evaluate other technical solutions and claimed that the preferred solution had already been predetermined.
- Presumably to avoid state level scrutiny, PSE chose not to pursue a permit through the State Energy Facility Evaluation Council (EFSEC). The EFSEC process usually results in a permit decision within 12 months, but involves more analysis and 3rd party evaluation of a project. The State has the capability to provide an independent load flow analysis to determine need, but PSE did not choose this route.
- The Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) was created over the next few years and finalized in 2017.
- PSE professed that EE was needed to serve winter loads. However, they later acknowledged that EE was not needed to serve peak winter loads on the Eastside. They also claimed that EE was needed to transfer 1.5 megawatts to Canada. They also retracted this need as not required.
- PSE then predicted blackouts in 2017 and 2018 which did not occur and have not occurred since.
- PSE was not transparent and did not provide the load analysis data from their 2013 and 2015 studies to the CENSE consultant until September 26, 2022. Finally, during the 2022 Washington Utilities and Transportation Commission (WUTC) Rate Hearing, PSE provided the load flow input data to the CENSE Consultant. This analysis showed substantial flaws and manipulation of input data and did not support an operational need. This data was made available after Land Use Hearings were completed in Renton, Newcastle, and South Bellevue.
- Over three years ago, PSE finally decided to pursue a North Segment permit with a pre-application meeting with Bellevue and then filed for the permit in February 2021. This process was mostly dormant until a recent public information meeting in July of 2023.
*Note: Where did we get that 20% figure for the increase residential electricity rates?
PSE doesn’t explicitly state the total percentage increase in residential electricity rates, but you can calculate it from the numbers in PSE’s notice of request for rate increase:
- 2023 … Residential customers would see an overall average 15.80% increase.
- 2024 … Residential customers would see an overall average 2.62% increase.
- 2025 … Residential customers would see an overall average 1.20% increase.
Multiplying those annual increases gives slightly more than 20%:
1.158 * 1.0262 * 1.012 = 1.2026, a 20.26% increase.
Also, in their example on page 2: “Electric service for the average residential customer (using 800 kilowatt hours of electricity per month)”
Total bill at 800 kWh per month:
- current: $88.90
- 2023: $103.43
- 2024: $106.20
- 2025: $107.51
The increase from the current $88.90 to 2025’s $107.51 is (107.51-88.90)/88.90 = 0.209 or 21%