Chelan PUD’s strong finances are helping it weather what so far have been modest impacts to revenues and costs as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak staff reported to commissioners on Monday. Much more will be known though by the time of second quarter 2020 results.
Board members reviewed financial results for the first three months of 2020, and forecasts that show, at least at this early point in the year, the COVID-19 outbreak isn’t expected to have significant impacts on year-end results. (At 00:21 on the board meeting audio recording.)
The District’s finances remain strong and all metrics are being met, reported Mark Mullins, Enterprise Risk Management director. Bottom-line results through March 31 were a little better than budget, with lower costs offsetting lower revenues, Mullins said.
Longer-term, the year-end forecast puts bottom line results at a little less than $54 million, down about $4 million from budget. Electric use is forecast at 95 percent of budget.
“The impacts of reduced power use, COVID-19 response programs and delayed work is difficult to forecast at this time,” Mullins said. “We expect the Q2 results and forecast will provide better insights on year-end expectations as we learn more about COVID-19 impacts.”
He added that Chelan PUD’s ability to meet predicted impacts show the resilience gained with prudent financial policies, a strong cash position, robust risk management and hedging policies, plus business continuity plans and actions.
Mullins said the PUD will need to be nimble to adjust to COVID-19 impacts while staying the course on strategic goals through 2024.
Commissioners called out the District’s strong cash balance and debt that is about half what it was a decade ago. “Those two numbers are incredible,” said Board President Garry Arseneault. “I just want to thank staff for a tremendous job.”
General Manager Steve Wright noted the role commissioners played in establishing the strategic direction to achieve those numbers through strategic planning.
In other business, commissioners:
- Applauded Director Tim Pettit’s leadership as he prepares to retire at the end of May. Starting as a lineman 39 years ago, Pettit joined Chelan PUD in July 2008, becoming line operations manager. Known for his passion for safety, he agreed in 2018 to become Safety and Human Performance Initiative director. “I feel like we’ve made incredible progress in the time that Tim’s been in charge of this group,” said General Manager Steve Wright. “He’s a true gentleman and always finds a way to get things done with a smile on his face. I just can’t say how much I appreciate him.” Commissioners said Pettit inspired confidence. “You created a culture, top to bottom, where employees were embracing the ideal of creating a better workplace…You have a special touch, a true caring that shows in your everyday actions,” said Commissioner Randy Smith. (00:57)
- Reviewed the draft 2020 Integrated Resource Plan. Comments on the plan can sent to firstname.lastname@example.org or made at the June 15 board meeting. A hearing on the final plan is set for July 6. (00:47)
- Received an update from Customer Relations Manager Kerri Wendell on COVID-19 impacts and customers’ ability to pay their utility bills. At this point, Wendell said “we’re really not seeing the significant impact that was originally forecast.” (01:45)
- May 13 – Board workshop, 9 a.m., Confluence Technology Center, 285 Technology Way, Wenatchee
- June 1 – Commission meeting, 10 a.m., boardroom
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The next regular PUD commission meeting is at 10 a.m. on Monday, June 1, 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.
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