The Cowlitz PUD Commissioners have the 2014 budget in place, adopting a document that totals $267.8 million in the coming year. This new budget reflects the rate restructuring that was adopted several weeks ago, raising residential rates by an average of five percent, while reducing some industrial rates. The budget also includes line items for additional automated meter reading installations, improvements to substations and power delivery systems, and upgrades to the internet-based billing system. The PUD is projecting to spend nearly $195 million on power purchases in the coming year, which is by far the largest component of the annual budget. Labor costs are also expected to rise by about three percent, mostly due to an increase of staffing in engineering and operations.