The Okanogan County PUD board will continue its discussion about ending the conservation loan program, to allow for additional public comment.
The program has been a good service since 1996, according to staff, but participation has decreased in the last few years. Director of Finance and Accounting Don Coppock said the PUD would look at partnering with a financial institution if the program were to be brought back.
Commissioner Jerry Asmussen said that the articles about discontinuing the program were only recently published in local papers, so he suggested waiting until the Sept. 23 board meeting before making a final decision. Commissioners reported that they had not received any comments about the program so far.
The program had provided loans for Okanogan PUD customers seeking energy-saving renovations on their homes, such as windows, HVAC and insulation. Anyone with an active loan or current application will still be processed as normal. The resolution currently sets Sept. 30 as the cutoff for any new applications.
Conservation incentive programs are not affected by the conservation loan program and will continue.
In other business, the board:
- Congratulated Eric McKinney, journeyman lineman, on 10 years with the District. McKinney graduated from Avista’s pre-apprentice line school and worked for Avista in Spokane before joining Okanogan PUD in 2009. He passed his journeyman lineman exam in 2011. He worked on the Oroville crew, then moved to the Okanogan crew in 2018.
- Heard that electronic bills through SmartHub have passed the 6,000 mark for July and August. This saves the District on postage and mailing when customers go paperless.
- Heard that the District received $73,000 in reimbursement from FEMA in August for the Okanogan Complex wildfires of 2015. To date, FEMA still owes approximately $562,000 to the District.
- Heard that August was a bit below budget on power sales. August is always a tight month, according to Director of Power Resources and Broadband Services Ron Gadeberg, but the District was purchasing power when it was expected to be selling power for the month. Retail was also down for August, making the total amount of revenue for the year about $3.2 million under budget.
- Heard from Gadeberg that telecom is picking up steady growth this year and that likely a new large customer will come on board in the next month.