Chelan County PUD commissioners on Monday were briefed by staff on the results of a month-long public outreach effort to hear from customer-owners about a proposed consolidation of Wenatchee-area operations into one location in Olds Station. Commissioners reviewed survey responses and comments from nearly 800 customer-owners and community stakeholders.
More than half said the proposal would not affect them. Of those responding to the survey, more than 62 percent said they “almost never” visit the PUD office in downtown Wenatchee. About 20 percent said they visit frequently or monthly. (At 00:40 on the board meeting audio recording)
Customer feedback also included many comments and ideas:
- At the Wenatchee Open House
- Consider impacts to Riverside Playhouse and downtown businesses
- At the Cashmere & Leavenworth open houses
- Will be easier for me to access PUD services
- More centrally located for the entire county
- At the Chelan and Entiat open houses
- Keep great customer service
- Consolidation just makes sense
Dan Frazier, Shared Services director, said planned traffic studies will help answer questions about the impact of a possible move on North Wenatchee Avenue and Olds Station roads. The PUD also will work with LINK Transit to secure bus service closer to the new location if the proposal moves ahead, said David Lodge, project manager.
Customers asked if the proposal might cause future rate increases. Frazier said consolidation would provide rate stability and has less rate pressure than other facility options studied including the baseline of staying at the present location.
If the proposal is approved, Chelan PUD would work with the city of Wenatchee, Port of Chelan County and a range of downtown stakeholders, including Music Theatre of Wenatchee, to start planning for the future of the PUD’s Fifth Street campus, Frazier said.
Several Music Theatre advocates spoke Monday to emphasize their concern about preserving parking for Riverside Playhouse. Citizen Advisory Board member Tom Green sent his support for the proposal by email, writing in part, “…it is an excellent plan in my view.”
Frazier said staff will be back at the April 15 commission meeting with any additional community feedback and a resolution asking for board approval of the recommended consolidation plan and the project budget.
In other business, commissioners:
- Heard there is good progress on strategic planning including topic team meetings on the six key questions and planning for countywide outreach efforts starting next month. (01:15)
- Heard that steady growth and new construction continues in Chelan County. Even so expected electric load growth in the next 10 years remains at 48 average megawatts, said Andy Wendell, Customer Service director. Chad Rissman, Distribution director, outlined the need for two new mobile substations to replace aging and under-sized units. He’ll be back at the next board meeting to ask for approval to advertise for bids. (00:21)
- Congratulated Communications and Conservation staff on winning Totem Awards from Public Relations Society of America, Puget Sound chapter. PUD entries took the top prize in all five categories entered: (01:35)
- Reviewed a new marketing campaign for the PUD’s ultra-fast fiber network with messages designed to increase awareness, show the speed and reliability of fiber-optic internet service and encourage people to visit chelanpud.org/fiber to get connected. Life at the Speed of Fiber” debuted today and will run through August. (02:10)
- April 13 – Greater Wenatchee Arbor Day celebration, Walla Walla Point Park
- April 15 – Commission meeting, 10 a.m.
- April 20 – Earth Day celebrations, Chelan and Wenatchee
The next regular PUD commission meeting is at 10 a.m. on Monday, April 15, in the boardroom at 327 N. Wenatchee Ave. Commissioners will meet for a workshop at 9 a.m. on April 11 at the Confluence Technology Center, 285 Technology Way, Wenatchee.
Chelan PUD records most commission meetings, and a link to the audio is available on the PUD’s home page at www.chelanpud.org. Find us at Facebook.com/ChelanPUD and follow us on Twitter @ChelanPUD.
Here for you, providing the best for the most for the longest – chelanpud.org