Chelan PUD is financially healthy, and that’s why now is the time to invest in its valuable hydro assets, improve reliability to customers’ homes and update customer service technology, General Manager Steve Wright told board members Tuesday.
“We are committed to having among the lowest rates in the country and strong financial resiliency over the long-term,” Wright said. “The strategic plan lays out using our financial strength to invest in assets that serve our customer-owners and maintain our low debt.”
Chelan PUD has a history of thinking long-term resulting in the county’s rate advantage. Continuing that approach supports the Board of Commissioners’ vision to provide the best value for the most people for the longest time, he said. (At 00:07 on the board meeting audio recording.)
2017 and 2018 were the PUD’s best-ever financial years. 2019 will likely continue the trend. That wealth is being used for actions that should maintain the county’s competitive advantage long into the future, Wright said.
Chelan PUD plans to roughly triple its annual spending on hydro system projects from 2016-2024 compared against 2010-2015. Over the next five years, the PUD plans to build seven new substations and expects to adopt smart meters that will help reduce outage time, while providing customers more and better information.
The plan also proposes rate-of-inflation level rate increases to protect against downside risks such as price declines in the wholesale power market.
“Rate increases are proposed not because there is an immediate need, but rather because they are prudent from a long-term planning perspective,” Wright said.
Customers are invited to comment on the draft plan at evening open houses in Wenatchee (Sept. 5) and Leavenworth (Sept. 9). (See details below.)
Customers also can comment by emailing email@example.com and at the Sept. 16 and Oct. 7 board meetings. Plans are to ask for board approval of the plan on Oct. 7.
In other business, commissioners
- Agreed to continue Chelan PUD’s membership in the Northwest Energy Efficiency Alliance through 2024. Members support the cost-effective approach of working with manufactures and retailers to get energy efficient products to customers, said Andrew Grassell, Energy Development and Conservation manager. The PUD expects to achieve about 1.2 average megawatts in energy savings over the five years. Dues are about $332,000 a year.
- Sept. 5 – Strategic Plan Open House, 6 p.m. Confluence Technology Center (CTC)
- Sept. 9 – Strategic Plan Open House, 5:30 p.m., PUD Leavenworth Office
- Sept. 16 – Commission meeting, 10 a.m. PUD boardroom
- Sept. 21 – River Ramble at the Wenatchee Valley Salmon Festival
- Sept. 30 – Commission workshop, 9 a.m., CTC
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The next regular PUD commission meeting is at 10 a.m. on Monday, Sept.16, in the boardroom at 327 N. Wenatchee Ave.
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