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PUD News

PUD commissioners hear preliminary cryptocurrency rates

by Kimberlee Craig | Jul 24, 2018
In advance of the cryptocurrency rate public hearing on Aug. 6, Chelan County PUD commissioners received an update on transmission and distribution challenges related to requests for power to serve large loads and a recommendation about possible cryptocurrency rates.

In advance of the cryptocurrency rate public hearing on Aug. 6, Chelan County PUD commissioners received an update on transmission and distribution challenges related to requests for power to serve large loads and a recommendation about possible cryptocurrency rates.

“Volatility in cryptocurrency markets has us taking a cautious approach to new, larger cryptocurrency mining requests,” says PUD General Manager Steve Wright. “We want to create policies that satisfy our goal to keep our existing, non-cryptocurrency customers neutral to positive, while also giving this new technology a chance to be successful in Chelan County. I guess you could say that our objective is to make lemonade out of what seems to be a daunting challenge.”

Under the proposed cryptocurrency rate, customers would pay the cost of power purchased from the wholesale market. Cryptocurrency customers also would pay upfront charges to cover the cost of potential infrastructure investment.

Lindsey Mohns, Customer Utilities business manager, described the constraints in the PUD’s transmission and distribution infrastructure (at 00:20 on the board audio recording). Mohns said there is transmission and distribution capability in parts of Chelan County, particularly in the Malaga, Wenatchee and Olds Station areas, but that in no case currently is there availability of more than 4 megawatts of power capacity at any of the existing substations.

Following the presentation, commissioners commented that the approach in developing a new rate - using standard rate-making methodology where rates follow costs - makes sense. 

“I really like this direction,” said Commissioner Steve McKenna. “It’s balanced, it’s rational, it’s moving forward and protecting the interests of existing ratepayers.” (00:45)

The information presented today will be available to the public atchelanpud.org/cryptocurrency, before the Monday, Aug. 6, hearing at 1 p.m. at the Confluence Technology Center.

In other business, commissioners:

  • Received an update on planning to rehabilitate the eight, 1970s-era horizontal turbine generators in the second powerhouse at Rock Island Dam. Project Manager John Sagerser said analysis to ensure the project provides the best long-term value led staff to propose using a “progressive design/build” procurement approach. Discussions with equipment makers also led to considering replacing, rather rebuilding the generators to extend the life of the units. Sagerser said more economic analysis and state review needs to done before staff will return this fall to ask for board approval to move ahead. (00:55
  • Held a public hearing on the 2018 Integrated Resource Plan Progress Report and, following consideration, approved the progress report. It outlines sources of power needed to supply PUD customers through 2028. No one commented on the report.  (02:03)
  • Approved staffing needed for independent operation of Rock Island and Rocky Reach dams when the Mid-Columbia Hourly Coordination Agreement with Grant PUD ends in June 2019. (02:15)
  • Received an update on the proposed agreement with the Port of Chelan County on Olds Station properties. Commissioners are seeking public comment on the proposed agreement. (01:22)
  • Heard that last week’s power outage caused by underground equipment failure at Ninth and Mission streets may be a “harbinger of things to come.” John Stoll, Customer Utilities managing director, and Mike Coleman, Fiber and Telecom managing director, outlined options for repairing the damaged conduit carrying power lines and possible impacts on nearby fiber lines. Stoll noted that the equipment is 1970s vintage, similar to some 140 miles of the 800 miles of underground line across the county. (01:42)
  • Congratulated Communications Manager Suzanne Hartman on her induction into the College of Fellows of the Public Relations Society of America. The honor recognizes high-quality work done throughout her career. (00:04)
  • Applauded Beverly Freeman, benefits manager, for taking ownership and the advice of PUD retirees to improve the annual luncheon resulting in a significant gain in attendance and many thanks from attendees. (01:55)
  • Set a special meeting for 8:30 a.m. on Aug. 20 in the second floor conference room at PUD headquarters to take safety-related Human Performance Initiative training. (02:32)

Upcoming events:

  • July 30 – Mid-C Commissioners and General Managers meeting, 5:30 p.m., Visconti’s in Wenatchee.
  • Aug. 6 – Commission meeting, 10 a.m. boardroom; and 1 p.m. public hearing on the cryptocurrency operation application moratorium, Confluence Technology Center, 285 Technology Way, Wenatchee  
  • Aug. 7 – National Night Out, 6 p.m., Centennial Park, Wenatchee
  • Aug. 20 – Special commission meeting, 8:30 a.m., PUD headquarters
  • Aug. 20 – Commission meeting, 10 a.m. boardroom

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The next regular PUD commission meeting is at 10 a.m. on Monday, Aug. 6.

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 on Facebook.com/ChelanPUD and follow us on Twitter @ChelanPUD.