Collaborative effort puts new steps in place for confirming city utility taxes
Chelan County PUD
Chelan County PUD commissioners Monday approved payments to the county’s five cities to resolve outstanding electric utility taxes and heard what steps will be taken to ensure the future taxes are collected correctly from PUD customers living within city limits.
Lindsey Mohns, Customer Utilities business adviser, told commissioners all five cities have agreed to use Chelan County Assessor data to verify meter locations for the purpose of collecting electric utility taxes. The PUD will also verify new service addresses with the cities each quarter.
The agreements with Cashmere, Chelan, Entiat, Leavenworth and Wenatchee are the result of a several month review of PUD records that found Chelan PUD incorrectly collected the 6-percent city utility tax from about 200 PUD customers who lived at about 150 addresses outside city limits and had not collected the tax from about 1,340 customers at 1,000 addresses who should have been taxed.
Working with the cities, PUD staff developed the plan to pay each city its share of uncollected city tax totaling $148,167 for Oct. 1, 2010-Sept. 30, 2013. Customers living outside city limits who were billed for the tax will be credited their proportional share of the $16,985 incorrectly collected.
PUD commissioners directed staff to use electric system funds to pay the cities for the uncollected electric utility tax. Customers who were not taxed, but should have been, will not be charged for the uncollected taxes.
In other business Monday, commissioners:
- Extended an agreement with Voith Hydro for additional engineering on the interim repairs for Unit C10 at Rocky Reach Dam that could get the unit back in service by the end of April. The original plan for a complete rebuild of the unit following discovery of cracks in the stainless steel shaft that operates a servo motor put the estimated return date in August. Interim fixes have returned C11 to service on Dec. 27 and C9 today. Crews are working on unit C8, which is expected to be back in service by Feb. 28. Units C8, C9, and C11 were taken out of service Sept. 23 after the cracks, believed to be a design issue, were found in C10. C10 has been out of service since March 2013. All four of the dam’s largest turbines have a similar design.
- Reviewed a draft resolution that would allow Energy Resources staff to sell up to 10 percent of power that is surplus to District needs through slice contracts for periods of up to 15 years. Those sales are now limited to five years. The resolution would also allow for a portion of the energy to be reserved for sale to public power utilities in up to 25 average megawatt blocks. Gregg Carrington, Energy Resources managing director, said the addition of those products to the PUD’s power sales hedging strategy would respond to interest from potential purchasers for longer term contracts and continue to reduce risk to District wholesale revenue from fluctuations in river flow, market price and unit outages. Commissioners will be asked to act on the resolution at the Feb. 3 board meeting.
- Were updated on runoff forecasts. Estimates from the Northwest River Forecast Center now are for runoff into Lake Chelan of 65 percent of average and Columbia River runoff of 86 percent of average. To compare, the water equivalent in California’s snowpack is reported at 17 percent of average. Energy Trading and Planning staff is keeping a close eye on snowpack and will report again after doing a snow survey in the mountains above Lake Chelan the first week of February.
The next regular meeting commission meeting will be held starting at 10 a.m. on Monday, Feb. 3, 2014, in the boardroom at 327 N. Wenatchee Ave. Commissioners will meet for a board workshop at 9 a.m. on Feb. 5, 2014, at the North Central Regional Library, 16 N. Columbia St., in Wenatchee.
Most PUD commission meetings are recorded, and a link to the audio is available on the PUD’s home page at www.chelanpud.org.
Chelan County PUD
Public Information Officer
(509) 661-4320, office
(509) 679-6858, mobile
Link to board meeting.