Okanogan County PUD commissioners approved a 2 percent overall revenue increase at their March 9 meeting, but delayed the implementation date to May 1, 2020.
Discussion amongst commissioners and staff included questions of economic certainty affecting the market, as well as current struggles for the agricultural sector.
Commissioner Scott Vejraska said he did not believe now was the time to add to customer’s costs and raise rates.
Commissioner Bill Colyar said the longer the district delays infrastructure projects, the more degraded the system gets, leading to increased outages and maintenance costs.
Commissioner Jerry Asmussen recommended the May 1 implementation date instead of the April 1 date, due to economic uncertainty.
The one-month delay will cost the district about $75,000 out of its 2020 budget.
Vejraska voted against Resolution 1705 authorizing the rate increase, making the vote 2-1 in favor.
Effective May 1, the rates will increase differently per class to move toward the cost of service to each individual class, averaging out to 2 percent overall:
Residential: 2.9 percent increase (average of $2.50 per month)
Small general service: 1.8 percent increase, (average of $3.30 per month)
Large general service: 0.5 percent increase, (average of $16.42 per month)
Irrigation: 1.5 percent increase (average of $7.18 per month)
Industrial: 0.5 percent increase
Frost control: 10 percent increase
Area lighting: 2 percent increase
Street lighting: 2 percent increase
More information on the rates, the cost of service study and other financial documents are available on the district’s website.
In other business, the board:
- Approved Resolution 1704, amending the district’s wage and salary program, which will help budgeting processes for 2021.
- Approved the surplus of transformers and items from both broadband and IS departments. Some will be recycled or disposed of, others made available at auction.
- Approved Change Order No. 11 of the Max J. Kuney Company Design-Build Contract, in an amount not to exceed of $371,000 for the Enloe Dam Phase 1 Services, for additional site investigation work.
- Approved a nearly $700,000 settlement payment from BPA to reimburse the PUD for power purchases that served Nespelem Valley Electric Co-op in 2019.
- Heard from Director of Power Resources and Broadband Services Ron Gadeberg that wholesale power sales were $190,000 better than budgeted for February, but January’s retail sales were $587,209 under budget, due to much milder weather than anticipated. Telecom continues to increase, with now 2,585 end users on wireless connections and 492 on direct fiber, a total of 3,077 end users.
- Set future regular board meetings for 3 p.m. for April 13 and 27, May 11 and 26, June 8 and 22, July 6 and 20, Aug. 10 and 24, and Sept. 14 and 28.