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Next step in strategic planning will set financial targets for each Chelan County PUD service

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Next step in strategic planning will set financial targets for each Chelan County PUD service

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June 5, 2012
(Wenatchee, WA) With broad financial principles outlined in the District’s Strategic Plan, PUD commissioners Monday were briefed on setting specific targets for each of the District’s four utility services – electric, water, sewer and wholesale fiber and telecom network.

Setting those targets, and using them to develop five-year business plans for each service, is one of nine priorities senior managers want to accomplish this year to keep the District on track for meeting its strategic objectives. Fiber and telecom financial policies were set by commissioners on May 21.

Mark O’Bryan, Strategic Financial Planning director, said the targets need to reflect overall financial goals and the priorities of customers-owners that were gathered during the extensive strategic planning process. Those included the clear preference that electricity is “Job No. 1,” for the PUD. Each utility service is expected to continue moving closer to becoming self-sustaining.

On June 13, commissioners will be asked to set targets for electric, water and sewer service for: cash reserves, adequate rate of return, debt leverage ratio and the combined debt coverage. The targets will be used to help develop five-year business plans for each of the District services.

In other business Monday, commissioners:

  • Approved agreements with Douglas and Grant PUDs and the Bonneville Power Administration to build a new transmission line and install other equipment expected to make the area’s transmission system more flexible and reliable. The collaborative approach for the North Mid-Columbia Joint Transmission Project offers a cost-effective plan for building a nine-mile, high-voltage line from Douglas PUD’s Rapids Switchyard near Rock Island to BPA’s Columbia Switchyard in Douglas County, south of Rock Island Dam. The route is yet to be determined. Chelan PUD’s share of the project is estimated at $3.3 million, and it will also cover about 41 percent of future operation and maintenance costs, reflecting the share of benefit it expects to receive, said Chad Bowman, Transmission and Reliability director.
  • Reviewed proposals for raising wholesale rates and fees charged to local service providers that deliver Internet access, telephone and TV to customers over the PUD’s fiber-optic network. The rate changes, plus cost-cutting including fiber workforce reductions, are among the steps being taken to carry out the new strategic plan for the network and to meet financial targets set by commissioners on May 21, said Chris Church, interim Fiber and Telecom managing director. Representatives of two service providers offered alternatives. Three District fiber employees also spoke. On June 13, commissioners will be asked to decide on a proposed 9-percent, across-the-board fiber rate increase effective Aug. 1 for service providers and additional 5-percent increases each year in 2014-2017.
  • Were thanked for support of the Andrew York Lineman Rodeo and invited to the eighth annual event starting at 8 a.m. on June 16 in Wenatchee’s Walla Walla Point Park. Proceeds from the lineman rodeo over the years have provided a total of $24,000 in scholarships to graduating high school seniors active in preventing teen drug and alcohol abuse, said organizing committee members Sarah DeLozier and Daryn Klinginsmith. The rodeo is presented by the Chelan, Douglas, Ferry, Grant and Okanogan PUDs and International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) Local 77. It honors Chelan PUD journeyman lineman Andrew York who died in 2000 after being struck while on the job by a drunken driver.
  • Heard that the PUD met the June 1 target of 1,094 feet above sea level for Lake Chelan. Scott Buehn, power resource engineer, said plans call for holding the lake level between 1,094 and 1094.5 feet until about June 10, then gradually increasing the lake level as the next target elevation of 1,098 feet approaches on July 1.

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