Sixth straight year - no electric rate increase
On Oct. 16, Chelan PUD commissioners focused on the building blocks of the District’s 2018 budget, foremost among them - no electric rate increase proposed for the sixth year in a row. Going back to 2000, District rates have increased 9 percent while consumer prices have increased 39 percent.
“Since 2010, at the direction of our commissioners, the District has taken advantage of a favorable wholesale market to reduce debt, avoid rate increases and maintain reliable service to meet growing load,” said General Manager Steve Wright. “While we see challenges in the longer term, Chelan PUD continues to be in strong financial shape in the near term.”
Commissioners agreed with strategic priorities in next year’s budget. They are:
- Investing in key assets with major refurbishment of generating units at Rocky Reach and Rock Island dams
- Paying down debt by at least $24 million, and
- Continuing Public Power Benefit investments in fiber expansion and other board-approved projects.
Board members reviewed and supported key assumptions for the spending plan as well as the timeline for public discussion of the 2018 budget proposal.
A first public look at the specific draft budget is set for 1 p.m. on Nov. 6, followed by more discussion on Nov. 20. Commissioners will be asked to approve the 2018 budget on Dec. 4.
The District expects to end 2017 with strong positive results and to achieve financial targets through 2022. Longer-term forecasts discussed with the board earlier this month reflect a transition to facing financial challenges in in the mid-2020s as a result of declining wholesale revenue and increasing infrastructure investment demands.
Priorities for 2018 include investing in:
- Hydro project repairs and upgrades
- Systems to provide customers better information
- Electric system improvements to meet growth in existing and new loads