The District is continuing with plans to pay down debt by more than $60 million this year, including $32 million in July, O’Bryan said, adding a caution that unforeseen weather or energy market fluctuations could change the forecast outcome.
Net wholesale revenue of about $57 million from sales of surplus power was just ahead of budget, secured with “locked in” prices from the District’s hedging program. Operating expenses continued below budget, about $5 million less than expected through June, O’Bryan said.
The District’s positive bottom line results will continue to be used to meet priorities voiced by customer-owners to:
- Keep rates affordable and any changes modest and predictable;
- Save for a rainy day;
- Continue to pay down debt;
- Keep District dams and utility systems reliable.
Even looking out 15 years, PUD finances are forecast to remain on a sustainable path for the long-term, said Mark Mullins, Enterprise Risk Management director.
In other business Monday, commissioners:
- Heard the details on two hydropower bills passed by Congress last week that received strong support from both parties and are seen as making hydropower, “the bipartisan energy issue of the session,” said Suzanne Grassell, PUD government affairs manager. The bills were spearheaded by the National Hydro Association and received strong support from the Northwest delegation as well as senators and representatives from across the country. “It’s definitely a renaissance around how hydropower is perceived,” Grassell said.
- Listened to a recap by Tim Pettit, Distribution operations manager, of the work done by line crews to restore power to customers after the Colockum Tarps Fire burned through. While there were more than 140 poles in the path of the fire, crews had to replace only about a dozen to restore power. Fire retardant paint protected the PUD’s 12 wooden transmission structures that were in the path of the flames, Pettit said.