It's just a coincidence Puget Sound Energy (PSE) is asking state regulators to approve an 8 percent increase in electrical rates at the same time hundreds of thousands of customers were knocked out of service by winter snow, ice and wind storms.

Share story

Bellevue

PSE rate-increase hearing next week

It’s just a coincidence Puget Sound Energy (PSE) is asking state regulators to approve an 8 percent increase in electrical rates at the same time hundreds of thousands of customers were knocked out of service by winter snow, ice and wind storms.

The increase was requested in May, and the state Utilities and Transportation Commission is going through a process that will include public hearings Wednesday in Bellevue, where the utility is based, and on Feb. 15 in Olympia.

PSE also is requesting a 3 percent increase in its natural-gas rates, The News Tribune reports.

The commission staff is recommending smaller increases. A final decision by the commission is expected in the spring.

PSE spokeswoman Terri-Ann Betancourt says the rate increase is based on business conditions over several years.

Power to all its customers had been restored as of Thursday morning. Betancourt said crews restored the last outages around dawn.

Crews had worked nonstop since last week’s snowstorm, and the more recent high winds left hundreds of thousands of homes and businesses in Western Washington without electricity.

At one point, nearly 460,000 of the utility’s 1.1 million customers were in the dark, and hundreds of crews struggled to untangle a jumble of power lines downed by ice and falling trees.

Seattle

Parks worker injured in assault

A Seattle parks worker was treated for facial injuries Thursday morning after he attempted to stop a man from assaulting a woman in a Wallingford neighborhood park, park officials say.

Dewey Potter, Park Department spokeswoman, said the 45-year-old maintenance worker was treated and released from Northwest Hospital after the 11 a.m. incident at Meridian Park in the 4600 block of Sunnyside Avenue North.

Potter said the park employee, who has worked for the department since 1998, said he saw a man and a woman who both appeared to be homeless, and saw that the man was striking her.

Potter said the parks employee told the suspect to stop assaulting the woman or he would call police, at which point the man attacked him.

The suspect fled but was arrested in the area shortly after police arrived, said Seattle Police Detective Jeff Kappel.

The 31-year-old man was booked into jail on a charge of misdemeanor assault.

Seattle

New otter pup is a girl

The Seattle Aquarium’s new otter pup is a girl.

The pup was born Jan. 14, but aquarium officials say giving the animal time to bond with its mother and the thickness of otter fur made it hard to immediately determine its gender.

Traci Belting, the aquarium’s curator of mammals and birds, says had the new pup been a boy, it would have been necessary to transfer it elsewhere so it wouldn’t quarrel with the father otter. The female pup will be raised at the aquarium.

The aquarium soon will invite the public to vote on possible names for the pup.

Woodinville

Firefighter killed in one-car crash

An off-duty Woodinville firefighter was killed Wednesday night in a one-car crash on Camano Island.

The State Patrol says a pickup driven by 38-year-old Matthew Roodzant, of Camano Island, failed to stop at an intersection, went through a guard rail and hit a tree. A passenger in the truck was not hurt.

KOMO reports Roodzant had been with the Fire Department for 10 years.

Times staff and news services