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Industry News

Puget Energy to Provide Real Time Price Data

LCG, Nov. 9, 2000--An official of Puget Sound Energy Corp. yesterday urged federal regulators to promote the use of new tools and innovations that will let consumers more efficiently manage their demand for electricity.

During a FERC conference in Washington, D.C., to explore potential remedies for California's ailing electricity market, Puget Energy vice president for energy delivery Gary Swofford said consumers should be allowed to take greater control over how and when they use electricity.

In its investigation of the California power market last week, FERC found that consumers, even when forced to pay market prices for power as they were in the San Diego area this summer, did not curtail their use of electricity.

Swofford suggested that FERC may believe that consumers do not have the capability to manage their electricity use in order to save money.

"Well, I'm here to tell you that Puget Sound Energy is about to give 400,000 of our residential and business customers the ability to match their electricity use with electricity-market pricing -- allowing them to think ahead before they buy," Swofford said as he trumped an imaginary ace.

Puget Energy said that beginning next month customer bills will show how much power was used within each of four blocks of time and will also show the average wholesale price for power within those blocks. The pilot program will monitor how consumers respond and whether they make informed decisions about when to use power.

Swofford told the regulators "It doesn't matter what it's called -- real-time pricing, dynamic pricing or demand response -- it all comes down to providing customers with the information they need to make intelligent choices about the electricity they are purchasing."

Puget Energy didn't say whether it would charge customers different prices for power used during the four time blocks. If a consumer pays the same price all day long and can't save money by running the clothes dryer at midnight, what's the point?

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