The Cowlitz PUD Commission has a special meeting planned for 7 pm tonight, where they’ll conduct a public hearing on electricity rates for the coming year. PUD officials announced earlier this month that they’re projecting that a 10-percent rate increase will be needed on January first of next year, because of several factors. The BPA is announcing that wholesale power rates could go up as much at 8.5 percent next year. The PUD says that there’s been less revenue than expected from sales of excess hydro and wind power, debt service is coming due on a pair of wind projects, and revenues from retail power sales in 2009 and 2010 is also down. Dave Andrew with the PUD says that the exact amount of the increase hasn’be been finalized, but will be by tonight’s hearing. It’s estimated that a ten-percent increase would boost the average home electricity bill by $7.70 per month. Tonight’s hearing will be held in the PUD Auditorium, located at 961 12th Avenue in Longview.