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PUD projects focus on reliable service for customers

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PUD projects focus on reliable service for customers

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September 6, 2012

(Wenatchee, WA) From improvements for dam turbines and generators to new water reservoirs, electrical substations and construction of a new transmission line, PUD commissioners Tuesday received updates on projects aimed at maintaining reliable utility service for customers.

“We’ve got a lot of employees who have been working hard to keep the turbines spinning and at meeting our customer service and regulatory obligations,” said Kirk Hudson, Generation and Transmission managing director.

As part of the overview, engineer Jim Caldwell and construction manager Casey Hall discussed construction of the Entiat Transmission Line, which is on schedule and under budget. The project includes building a new switchyard along Highway 97A, north of Entiat; a new substation in the Entiat Valley near the mouth of Crum Canyon; and a 5.8-mile high-voltage line connecting them. Work is expected to finish on time in February 2013. The final cost is now estimated at $8.8 million, about $800,000 below budget, Hall said.

John Stoll, Customer Utilities managing director, said construction of the Squilchuck Water Reservoir south of Wenatchee and the new Eagle Rock reservoir in Sunnyslope are the last of eight reservoirs the PUD has built in the last 11 years to upgrade the water systems that serve Wenatchee suburbs and rural areas in other parts of the county. Another project that’s on schedule is construction of the Okanogan Avenue Substation to handle growth and future electric service capacity in south and west Wenatchee, Stoll said. Line crews were also working in Leavenworth, installing new equipment in downtown alleys to improve electric service reliability in conjunction with the city’s Front Street work.

During the most recent strategic planning effort customers were asked for their preferences for future spending once PUD finances were stabilized. They put high value on ensuring reliable service along with keeping electric rates affordable (with any changes modest and predictable), saving for a rainy day and continuing to pay down debt.

In other business Tuesday, commissioners: 

  • Set a public hearing for 1 p.m. at the regular board meeting on Sept. 17 for comments on the recent determination by the state Department of Commerce that improvements at Rocky Reach Dam qualify as “an eligible renewable resource” under the Energy Independence Act (I-937).

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