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2020 to bring more Chelan PUD investments in dams and grid

by Kimberlee Craig | Nov 05, 2019
Commissioners review spending plan with $152 million earmarked for big projects

Following the new strategic plan, Chelan PUD’s proposed spending in 2020 will focus on significant work at its dams, on its power grid and on technology upgrades to increase reliability and offer more services that customer-owners find valuable, staff reported to commissioners on Monday.

Commissioners held the first of two hearings on next year’s spending plan and reviewed key components. (At 02:02 on the meeting audio recording.)

Next year’s spending plan is based on five-year business plans and supports strategic priorities to:

  • 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

The draft 2020 budget includes significant investments in capital projects of about $152 million, up about $1.5 million from last year.

Top projects include:

  • Continued modernizing work on hydro units and cranes at Rock Island Dam
  • Continued upgrades of warehouse, work space and crew buildings at Rock Island and Rocky Reach dams
  • Continued large unit repairs at Rocky Reach
  • Start of construction on the Service and Operations Center
  • Launching construction and/or upgrades of four substations

Chelan PUD projects to end 2020 with a budgeted positive bottom line of about $57.3 million, slightly higher than the 2020 forecast of $54.2 million in last year’s approved budget. That figure reflects changes in wholesale power markets and larger retail loads. Revenue from a small electric rate increase, called for in the strategic plan, isn’t included as timing on putting it in place is still to be determined.   

Expansion of the fiber network and funding for day use passes at PUD parks operated by the state are planned as part of the Public Power Benefit program. Total spending for 2020 is forecast at 5.4 percent more than the 2019 budget

A second budget hearing is set for Nov. 18. Staff will request commission approval of the 2020 budget at the Dec. 2 meeting.

In other business, commissioners:

  • Heard the PUD expects to end the year with better results than budgeted due to higher contract revenue and lower costs that offset impacts from low stream flows and unit outages. Year-end bottom line results are forecast at $103 million, $26 million better than budget. (01:15)
  • Heard an update on developing a schedule for long-term turbine hub refurbishment of the small units at Rocky Reach Dam. (00:43)
  • Reviewed progress on the District’s 2019 Performance Plan. Through October, more than 80 percent of the projects are complete or on track to complete. (00:35)
  • Heard a summary from Our Valley, Our Future of a Washington State University study on what steps are needed to support the Wenatchee area becoming a technology hub. (00:10)
  • Scheduled a hearing at 1 p.m. on Dec. 2 to set two- and 10-year conservation targets as required by the state Energy Independence Act (I-937). (02:45)  
  • Set a dinner meeting at 5:30 p.m. on Nov.18 with Douglas and Grant PUD at Tijuana’s Restaurant, 709 1st Ave. S.E., Quincy (03:20

Upcoming events:

  • Nov. 6 – Horan Natural Area open houses at Confluence Technology Center, 11 a.m. & 4:30 p.m.
  • Nov. 11 – Veterans Day (PUD offices closed)
  • Nov. 18 – Commission meeting, 10 a.m.
  • Nov. 18 – Mid-C Commissioners & Managers meeting, 5:30 p.m., Quincy

* * *

The next regular PUD commission meeting is at 10 a.m. on Monday, Nov. 18, 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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