Early financial results show District is on track to finish 2013 ahead of budget

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May 8, 2013
(Wenatchee, WA) Financial results for the first quarter of 2013 are about $2 million ahead of forecast and the District is on track to end the year with a possible positive net position nearly $6 million ahead of budget, Mark O’Bryan, strategic financial planning director, told Chelan PUD commissioners at Monday’s meeting. The District is continuing with plans to pay down debt by $64 million this year, including $22 million accomplished in February, O’Bryan said, adding a caution that unforeseen weather or energy market fluctuations could change the outcome of the preliminary forecast.

The District’s hedging program continues to yield benefits, said Gregg Carrington, Energy Resources managing director. Expected minimum revenues for 2013 increased by more than $30 million dollars due to the program, contributing to the District’s overall strong finances, he said. Net wholesale revenues of $112 million for 2013 are expected to be ahead of budget even with forecasts of average Columbia River stream flow (100 percent) and slightly below average Lake Chelan runoff (93 percent).

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

In other business, commissioners:

  • Thanked Carol Wardell for 15 years service as PUD general counsel and welcomed former staff attorney Erik Wahlquist, who has moved up to the position. Wardell will continue as a part-time staff attorney for the District.
  • Applauded three recent awards, two recognizing District science and hydropower education and a third for its care of trees near power lines. Senior Conservation Engineer Jim White was honored as one of five state Science Champions for his innovative advocacy of science education. He will donate the $5,000 award to the North Central Educational Service District Foundation to be used to buy kits for students to make model solar cars. The D3 Geocache Challenge, a joint effort by Rocky Reach, Chief Joseph and Grand Coulee dams, was honored with an Outstanding Steward of America’s Waters Award for public education by the National Hydropower Association, and Chelan PUD received a Tree Line USA designation for the 15th year.