Chelan PUD Proposes Plans for Improved Reliable Service

by Neil Neroutsos | Jun 16, 2020

Chelan County PUD commissioners today heard proposals from staff to bring the utility solidly to the top quartile of reliable electrical service, in line with other high-performing U.S. public power providers. If approved in future budgets, the utility would make annual investments of an additional $2 million throughout its electrical system for a total of $4.3 million each year. (At 01:28 on the board meeting audio.)

Through these investments, PUD staff aim to reduce overall outages by an average of 36 minutes annually per customer, a reduction of 73 percent systemwide. The PUD is targeting meeting this goal by 2025.

By some measures, the PUD already is meeting top quartile performance. The utility seeks to remove any doubts.

“In setting this goal, we looked at reliability metrics at some of the top performing electric utilities in the country, based on data from the American Public Power Association,” said Chad Rissman, director of district asset management.

Additional investments would be made in the areas of trimming vegetation around utility lines and replacing underground electrical cable. These investment areas deliver the most “bang for the buck” according to Rissman. The utility also plans to continue its commitment to improvements that reduce instances of animal-related outages and upgrade equipment such as fuses, transformers, insulators and other devices.

When looking at the largest causes of outages over the past five years, the PUD notes that 65 percent fell into the four areas where it’s proposing to make additional improvements or maintain its level of reliability work.

“If there’s a great place where we can put extra effort and provide benefits to the people of Chelan County, this is it,” said PUD Commissioner Randy Smith. (01:55)

The PUD will revisit the proposed reliability investments during its budget process later this year.

In other business, the commission:

  • Heard an update on PUD low-income program planning based on prior program evaluation and needs assessment. The program aims to reduce the number of high-energy burden customers – those that spend more than 6% of their annual income on their energy bill – as part of the state’s Clean Energy Transformation Act. (02:01)
  • Approved further consideration of four “early action” recreational and environmental enhancement projects in connection with the upcoming federal relicensing of the Rock Island Dam, including planning and studies of a Malaga riverfront access site, recreational enhancements at the Rock Island ponds, trail and bird viewing improvements in the Horan Natural Area and safety upgrades on the Apple Capital Loop Trail with emphasis between the Pybus Public Market and Walla Walla Point Park. The Commission agreed to spend up to $127,500 to support these projects, with some proponents also providing matching funds to assist with this effort. Project proponents will need to express support for a 50-year license extension for the projects to proceed. (00:09)
  • Approved replacement of five moorage docks, including new gangways and piling work, at Beebe Bridge, Chelan Falls and Entiat parks. (02:16)
  • Heard updates about the status of more than a dozen safety measures that have been completed or are underway at PUD hydropower facilities and other worksites. (02:17)
  • Received an update on the utility’s draft Integrated Resource Plan (IRP), which, among other things, forecasts energy demand, assesses renewable and nonrenewable energy resources and outlines how the PUD will meet state clean energy laws. Chelan PUD needs to submit its 2020 IRP to the state Department of Commerce by Sept. 1, 2020. The PUD is likely already in compliance with 2030 requirements of Washington’s new Clean Energy Transformation Act. (00:52)

Upcoming events:

  • July 3 – Offices closed for July 4 holiday
  • July 6 – Commission meeting, 10 a.m., boardroom
  • July 20 – Commission meeting, 10 a.m., boardroom

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The next regular PUD commission meeting is at 10 a.m. on Monday, July 6, 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 Find us at and follow us on Twitter @ChelanPUD.


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Media contacts

Rachel Hansen: (509) 661-4320
Neil Neroutsos: (509) 661-8291

Outages or Emergencies

Visit our Safety and Outage Center for information, or to report an outage, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, call 1-877-PUD-8123.


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