...a community-owned and governed utility, created to provide safe, reliable and cost-based electric and wholesale telecommunication services...
There are certain fixed costs involved in providing electricity to a home or business, including such things as: maintaining substations, poles and lines, meters and meter reading, issuing bills and maintaining records.
The customer charge has been a part of Mason County PUD No. 3's electric rates since 1978. To explain the customer charge, consider the case of a vacation cabin. Even though it is often unoccupied for long periods of time, there are still fixed costs for being ready to serve the cabin. Though power is not being used, the meter is read, the billing processed, and if there's a storm, the damage to the PUD's electrical system is repaired.
If those fixed costs were added to the price of each kilowatt-hour of electricity, the large users (such as electric heat customers) would end up paying for the services used by that cabin. So instead, with the customer charge, those costs are divided evenly among all customers connected to the system. That way, each customer is being charged the full costs of having their home connected and ready to be served by the electric system whether or not they consume electricity.