Chelan County PUD
A project that will save the PUD money, save paper and respond to customer requests for the option of paperless billing is on track to finish in mid-July.
Customers who choose paperless billing will receive email notification when their bill is due and be able to see current and past bills online as well as use improved electronic and phone payment options. Last month, 41 percent of PUD bill payments were made electronically.
We’re really pleased to say that we are on the cusp of moving to the next phase, that of being able to offer electronic billing,” John Stoll, Utility Services director, told PUD commissioners Monday.
Starting in May, Chelan PUD customers will receive utility bills that have been updated as a first step in the project. The new bill design will also be the template for the online option, said Kerri Wendell, who coordinates customer accounts and is project manager.
The new “PowerPay” paperless billing option is scheduled to debut in mid-July. Savings for using that option would be an average of 54 cents a bill, over current costs. Overall savings will depend on how many customers choose the paperless option.
In other business, commissioners:
Voted to affirm the steps proposed by Treasurer Debbie Litchfield last week to help bring Chelan County PUD debt down about $171 million by 2015, dropping overall debt about $39 million lower than previously forecast. The steps include refinancing a portion of existing PUD bonds for better terms. The goals of the financing plan are to maintain the PUD’s strong bond ratings and financial position, to reduce the complexities of the PUD’s financial portfolio and meet targets set in the latest Strategic Plan. Litchfield said the bond market continues to be favorable.
Learned that Moody’s Investors Service has affirmed the District’s strong overall bond rating of Aa2, reflecting the PUD’s solid financial plan and its highly competitive hydro generation, strong liquidity position, low retail rates and long-term contracts for more than half of Rocky Reach and Rock Island's output after July 2012. Moody's believes that the District's strong financial liquidity and new hedging policy significantly reduces the short to medium term revenue risks associated with wholesale energy and water supply risk. Moody’s also noted that the District’s new hedging program with slice power auctions reflects the PUD’s improved risk management approach. Chief Financial/Risk Officer Kelly Boyd noted that the rating agency kept its negative outlook on the PUD in light of future wholesale market risks. It also gave a slightly lower, but still strong, rating of Aa3 to $82.7 million in short-term revenue notes due to be refinanced by 2013-2014.
Received an update from Gregg Carrington, Energy Trading and Planning managing director, and Scott Buehn, Power Resources engineer and analyst, on the impact to Lake Chelan levels as the runoff forecast keeps growing. Snow is still falling in the mountains, and temperatures for April are 6 degrees below normal, delaying the melt. To make room for the above-average runoff, the PUD is continuing generation of power at the Chelan powerhouse. The lake level is expected to be about 1,083 feet above sea level on May 1; about 4.6 feet lower than the target. Lowering the lake level is also necessary to protect new fish habitat in the lower stretch of the Chelan River by avoiding spilling large amounts of water into the Chelan Gorge.
The next regular meeting of the board is at 1 p.m. on Monday, May 2, in the boardroom at 327 N. Wenatchee Ave. Most PUD commission meetings are recorded, and a link to the audio is available on the PUD’s website at www.chelanpud.org.
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Chelan County PUD
(509) 661-4320, office
(509) 679-6858, mobile