Does your government sell electricity? If so, new audit engagements are coming your way

Jul 2, 2021

The Clean Energy Transformation Act (CETA) went into effect May 7, 2019, creating a new Chapter under Title 19 RCW and amending other state laws. The Act places new requirements on electric utilities to transition over time to clean energy resources to supply their retail customers. It also prescribes penalties for noncompliance with some requirements.

CETA requires the Office of the State Auditor to audit consumer-owned utilities' compliance with the requirements of RCW 19.405 and the related administrative rules adopted by the Washington Department of Commerce under WAC 194-40. Like the existing Energy Independence Act, our Office is responsible for auditing utility compliance, and the Attorney General's Office is responsible for enforcing that compliance.

Who is subject to the new attestation engagements?

CETA applies to all electric utilities that are in the business of distributing electricity to more than one retail customer in the state of Washington, including consumer-owned (public) electric utilities. Our Office is required to audit Public Utility Districts, municipal utilities, irrigation districts and mutual corporations that are under our audit jurisdiction.

We are required to audit 41 electric utilities:

  • Public Utility Districts – 24
    • Municipal utilities (cities/towns) – 16
    • Irrigation Districts – 1

When will SAO perform the compliance examinations?

The following summarizes a possible upcoming schedule of the compliance periods and related requirements.

Examinations occurring in 2021 – 2022 of the compliance period Jan. 1, 2020 – Dec. 31, 2021

  • Greenhouse gas content calculation (RCW 19.405.070)
  • Energy assistance for low-income households (RCW 19.405.120)

Examinations occurring 2023 – 2024 of the compliance period Jan. 1, 2022 – Dec. 31, 2023

  • Clean energy implementation plan (RCW 19.405.060)
  • Greenhouse gas content calculation (RCW 19.405.070)
  • Energy assistance for low-income households (RCW 19.405.120)

New billing rate for CETA and Energy Independence Act (EIA) examinations

Starting July 1, 2021, our Office will bill utilities at an hourly rate of $165 per hour for both these specialized CETA engagements, as well as our examinations of qualifying utility compliance with the Energy Independence Act.

Additional resources

Commerce's Energy Office provides additional information on its CETA web site at:

If you have not already done so, subscribe to our newsletter “This week's best at SAO” to learn about the latest CETA engagements, and more.

For questions about CETA compliance examinations, please contact our Energy Team.

We look forward to working with you.