Customers like stable rates, low debt and PUD support for environment and economic development

by Kimberlee Craig | Aug 05, 2019

Chelan County PUD is nearing the finish line for a new strategic plan for 2020-2024.

On Monday, commissioners reviewed themes from survey comments by customer-owners and proposals for strategic priorities and objectives for the next five years. (At about 02:20 on the board meeting audio recording.)

“Strategic planning is the most important work we do,” said General Manager Steve Wright. “Our customer-owners have provided direction on ‘big picture’ topics,’ and now we’re focused on putting their comments into an action plan.”

After reviewing each of about 3,600 survey comments, staff proposed adding a fourth strategic priority, updating existing priorities and defining the objectives that support them. All support the Board’s vision to provide the best value for the most people for the longest time, said Justin Erickson, District Services managing director.

Priorities proposed for 2020-2024 are:

  • Invest in assets and people and seek industry top-quartile performance for hydro generation, retail reliability and safety while improving customer service technology
  • Sustain excellent financial resiliency while mitigating the risk of large rate increases
  • Enhance the quality of life in Chelan County through programs that distribute the benefits of public power
  • Engage in countywide growth planning and job creation while ensuring the District’s rates and policies are stable and predictable

New objectives to support that work include:

  • Seek operational excellence through continuous improvement mindset (emphasizing efficiency, effectiveness, compliance, risk-assessment and resiliency
  • Advance human and organizational performance
  • Encourage innovation

Erickson also reviewed proposed actions in response to feedback on key strategic questions including:

  • Continue the Public Power Benefit program
  • Pursue “early action” on environment and recreation efforts that could earn a longer  term during Rock Island Dam relicensing
  • Support countywide economic development as long as rate impact is small
  • Stay with current policy that people who benefit pay for aesthetic improvements
  • Move Fiber to be financially self-sustaining in five years; help Water and Wastewater be more self-sustaining; update rate design; and create a fund to help keep electric rates stable.   

Staff will return with a draft of the new Strategic Plan on Aug. 19. There will be a month for public review and comments. Commissioners will be asked to adopt a final plan on Sept. 16.

In other business, commissioners:

  • Held a hearing to gather comments on declaring a 45-acre parcel of mostly steep hillside along Highway 97 in Douglas County surplus to District needs. After considering comments, board members deemed the land surplus and approved selling it to Douglas County Fire District 4 for $95,000. (02:10)
  • Reviewed financial results from April to June. Overall, power contract revenue and insurance proceeds from a settlement for the Rocky Reach large unit repairs offset impacts from less water to generate power and from generating unit outages. Based on the results, forecasts are for a year-end bottom line of nearly $106 million, about $29 million ahead of budget. (note: the morning study session wasn’t recorded)
  • Reviewed the second quarter update on the District Performance Plan.
  • Reviewed next steps for implementing strategic facilities plans at Rock Island and Rocky Reach dams.

Upcoming events:

  • Aug. 6 – National Night Out, 6 p.m., Eastmont Community Park 
  • Aug. 19 - Commission meeting, 10 a.m. PUD boardroom
  • Sept. 2 – Labor Day holiday
  • Sept. 3 - Commission meeting, 10 a.m. PUD boardroom (on Tuesday due to the holiday)
  • Sept. 16 – Commission meeting, 10 a.m. PUD boardroom
  • Sept. 30 – Commission workshop, 9 a.m., Confluence Technology Center

* * *

The next regular PUD commission meeting is at 10 a.m. on Monday, Aug. 19, 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. 

Here for you, providing the best for the most for the longest –

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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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