As part of their ongoing plans to upgrade infrastructure, Okanogan County PUD commissioners approved a $2.4 million bid for six substation power transformers at their Jan. 11 meeting.
The district has been planning for various capital projects throughout their system, working to keep up with aging equipment. Some of that critical equipment includes these power transformers, originally estimated to cost the district about $3 million.
The PUD opened the nine bids received in December, and selected Virginia Transformer, the lowest bid, according to Systems Technician Kyle Richter. Bids ranged from $2.4 million to $5 million. The transformers will be received in installments with some arriving this summer and others next spring.
In other business, the board:
- Heard that Energy Northwest has started a new internship program for third- or fourth-year engineering students. Chief Engineer Dan Simpson told the board that the PUD has projects that could use the help of an intern this summer, costing the PUD up to $8,000 for the program. Energy Northwest will provide marketing materials, recruit students through career fairs and tailor interviews for possible candidates, and the PUD will perform final interviews and select the final candidate. Not only will this help the PUD with project preparation, but the program also aims to garner more interest in power-related engineering careers among the students, a field which has had reduced interest in recent years.
- Approved the 2021 tree trimming contract with Asplundh Tree Expert Company, which was the only qualified bid received, for $800,000. The tree trimming program removes vegetation from PUD rights-of-way to prevent outages.
- Heard that although wire thieves along the fire-damaged Okanogan-Brewster transmission line are no longer targeting private properties, they are still removing equipment and cutting down poles along the line.
- Approved the surplus of certain old and outdated equipment from Information Systems.