Okanogan County PUD’s Twisp office will remain open Mondays and Wednesdays from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. through May, finally closing its doors after May 25.
The board of commissioners discussed the changes at their Feb. 28 meeting. Customer Service Supervisor Mindy Morris said that the PUD has 2,011 customers in the Twisp area, a majority of whom pay by credit or debit card. The office processes 300 payments each month, with about 55 of those on average being by card also.
Customer Service Rep Karen Williams has worked in the Twisp office for about 16 years, and is retiring June 1. Over the next few months, she will focus on helping customers transition to other methods of payment.
Customers can pay by phone, online through the PUD website, through the SmartHub app or by mail. Any payments or service requests can be taken in other branch offices, which are located in Brewster, Okanogan, Tonasket and Oroville.
The PUD will determine over the weeks to come whether a drop box will be needed for the Twisp area, or if there will be any other customer solutions.
Morris said the PUD will post to fill two customer service rep positions, one to work out of the Brewster office and one out of the Okanogan office. Over the last few years, two customer service positions have remained unfilled, and with Williams’ retirement and the recent resignation of another rep, the PUD would be short four customer service staff.
The board also heard from Director of Power Resources and Broadband Services Ron Gadeberg that the year has started behind budget on wholesale power sales. The cold weather drove the PUD to buy more than sell, coming in at $273,521 less than budgeted.
Gadeberg also shared that the PUD did not receive broadband funding from the National Telecommunication and Information Administration grant program. The Washington State Department of Commerce announced that there were five counties awarded funding, including Okanogan, but the PUD is not one of those receiving funds. The PUD is still working on an application to the USDA ReConnect grant program.