She received the gavel from Commissioner Carnan Bergren of Peshastin, who chaired the board in 2013. Also elected for 2014 were Commissioner Randy Smith, Cashmere, as vice president, and Commissioner Dennis Bolz, Wenatchee, as board secretary.
Congdon and the other commissioners thanked Bergren for his leadership of the board during a year that included the successful search for and hiring of new General Manager Steve Wright, saw District finances remaining on firm ground, brought continued reduction of long-term debt and the ability to handle repairs to the four largest units at Rocky Reach Dam without any change in electric rates.
In other business Monday, commissioners:
- Received the good news that interim repairs on the four largest generating units at Rocky Reach Dam continue ahead of schedule. Simon Marcoux, principal mechanical engineer, and journeyman mechanic Mike Pierce explained the blade block welding done to relieve stress on the servo motor rod of Unit C11, which went back into service on Dec. 27, more than a month ahead of schedule. Crews now are working on C9 and expect to return it to service by Jan. 31, and unit C8, which is expected to be back in service by Feb. 28. Both units will return to service about a month ahead of schedule. The three units were taken out of service September 23 after cracks believed to be a design issue were found in the servo motor rod of Unit C10. Unit C10 went out of service in March 2013. All four of the dam’s largest turbines have a similar design.
- Learned that 1,652 customers signed up for Powerpay paperless billing during the promotion that offered customers who enrolled – or answered a survey about Powerpay – a chance to win an iPad. Customer Accounting Manager Kerri Wendell and Megan McCarty, system support administrator, said word of mouth was effective as Customer Accounting staff signed up 1,234 customers. The goal was 1,000 new users. Savings for the PUD are about 54 cents per customer, per month, or about $6,500 annually for every 1,000 customers who go paperless, helping to lower PUD costs and keep electric rates affordable.
- Heard from Gregg Carrington, Energy Resources managing director, about a possible addition to the District power sales hedging program. He outlined the concept of selling slices of surplus power for longer periods than the current five years. The hedging program reduces the risk to District wholesale revenue from fluctuations in river flow, market price and unit outages. More information will be brought to commissioners at the Jan. 20 meeting.
- Were updated on current snowpack figures and early forecasts for runoff into Lake Chelan and the Columbia River. Janet Jaspers said the Lake Chelan Basin average snowpack is currently 48 percent of average and the April – July Northwest River Forecast Center’s runoff forecast on Monday was for 77 percent of average. Snowpack in the Columbia River Basin is in better shape and Monday’s Northwest River Forecast Center’s forecast for runoff at Grand Coulee is 92 percent of average for January – July.
- Scheduled a board workshop for 9 a.m. on Feb. 5 at a location to be determined.