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Emergency declaration finally ended

Thursday - May 19, 2022 12:00pm

The Okanogan County PUD has terminated its declaration of emergency set during the Cold Springs Fire in September 2020, now that the damaged portions have been rebuilt.

The emergency declaration allowed the PUD to quickly purchase materials, supplies and contract with agencies to get the system rebuilt. The Okanogan-Ophir section of the transmission line and other structures on the Okanogan to Twisp transmission line have been rebuilt and the emergency has now ended.

Crews are still working to replace the Ophir-Brewster portion of the transmission line, and expect that to be completed early this summer.

In other business, the board:

  • Heard that the PUD’s A+ long-term rating was affirmed with a stable outlook by Standard & Poor’s.
  • Authorized the general manager to sign a letter of support for Energy Northwest to pursue grants to install electric vehicle fast chargers on the Cascade Loop; chargers proposed in Okanogan PUD territory include Twisp and Pateros.
  • Discussed updates to commission meeting procedures, which have not been updated since 2000. Some suggested changes include changes in the Open Public Meetings Act, which the PUD already complies with. The order of the agenda will be reviewed, as well as guidelines for public comment and hybrid meetings. The board will discuss the matter again at their June 13 meeting.
  • Heard a report from Director of Power Resources and Broadband Services Ron Gadeberg that wholesale sales were just under budget for April, and retail just over budget for March. Overall, sales are $362,351 under budgeted year-to-date due to mild temperatures.
  • Heard from Heidi Appel, General Counsel, who presented the board with a memorandum (memo) prepared by Richard Roos-Collins of the Water and Power Law Group PC. The memo was funded by the Resources Legacy Fund, in no part by the PUD, to describe a feasible pathway to pursue removal of Enloe Dam. The memo analyzes potential liabilities arising from dam removal, along with strategies to avoid and manage such liabilities. PUD staff is in the initial stages of analyzing the document, but indicated it may be a more disciplined process that could work towards meeting dam removal criteria outlined by the board. In the coming months, staff will review the memo for consistency with the board’s criteria and, if requested by the board, invite Mr. Roos-Collins for a workshop to discuss any questions.
  • Approved Res. 1772, a surplus of broadband equipment that is either obsolete or failed. Some will be auctioned, some will go to e-waste.
  • Authorized Change Order #19 with the Max J. Kuney Company in an amount not to exceed of $45,426.26.
  • Authorized a budget amendment, with no budget impact, to the Regulatory and Environmental Department capital budget, moving unanticipated expenditures to be shifted from 2021 to 2022.