News

PUD commissioners approve plans to help low-income customer-owners

by Rachel Hansen | May 17, 2021

Chelan PUD commissioners supported two proposals Monday designed to lower the cost of housing and lower energy bills for people who can least afford it.

Commissioners approved a resolution to waive connection fees for qualified homebuyers working with local housing trusts (starts at 01:59:10 on the board audio). The average $1,900 fee would be waived for homes built for homebuyers who earn less than 80 percent of the area median income, which is currently $57,050 a year for a family of four.

“To me, this fits with our mission statement -- enhancing the quality of life in our communities,” Commissioner Steve McKenna said (02:08:10).

Commissioners also supported a new suite of energy-efficiency programs designed to help people who spend 6% or more of their income on energy. About 98 percent of these households earn less than $20,000 a year.

An estimated 2,100 homes would qualify for self-install energy-saving equipment such as faucet aerators, LED light bulbs, thermostatic shower valves, and smart thermostats.

An estimated 820 homes would qualify for appliance replacement and weatherization measures. Participating homes could see average savings of about $135 annually per home for the next 45 years.

Outreach to qualifying customer-owners will begin later this year.

In other news, commissioners:

  • Heard an update about rising energy prices amid low-water forecasts throughout the West. Even though the water supply outlook for the mid-Columbia is 86% of average through July, the PUD’s net wholesale revenue is expected to be $4.4 million more than budget for 2021. (00:14:42)
  • Heard a summary of energy-related bills passed in the recently concluded legislative session. (01:02:43)

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Upcoming events:

  • May 19, 5:30 p.m.: Power Hour, a live online Q&A about energy efficiency at facebook.com/chelanpud
  • May 22, 10 a.m.-1 p.m.: Community Appreciation Day, drive-through event at Wenatchee High School
  • May 26, 5:30 p.m.: Spanish-language Power Hour, a live online Q&A about energy efficiency at facebook.com/chelanpud
  • June 1, 10 a.m. – PUD Commission virtual meeting
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