Tree pruning is important in providing reliable, safe PUD service
Chelan County PUD
Chelan County PUD power lines and easements are inspected every one to three years for trees growing too close or at risk of falling into lines to ensure public safety and reliable utility service, Bill Sanborn, PUD arborist and manager of utility vegetation programs, told commissioners Monday.
Primary contractor Kemp West Inc. of Snohomish has pruned and removed hazardous trees along 1,200 miles of power lines since 2010 under a contract that, in part, pays a set amount per unit of work as requested by the District, a more cost-effective approach than previous agreements, Sanborn said. Commissioners approved contract changes with Kemp West for 2012 and 2013.
The 2010 contract has resulted in prices that are 18 percent lower than in the previous two-year contract. The firm also helps line crews clear downed trees after storms and during outages such as the damage caused when a 120-foot ponderosa pine fell into lines along Icicle Road in Leavenworth on Oct. 2.
In other business Monday, commissioners:
- Revised the District’s Telecommunications Line Extension Policy in response to customer requests to allow them to pay the PUD directly for the customer share of fiber installation costs and for the full cost of a fiber line extension after budgeted PUD connection funds are spent. Previously, those payments were made through local service providers.
- Heard an update on how the District is meeting the objectives of its Strategic Plan for 2010-2014 as measured by progress in ensuring financial stability, enhancing stakeholder relationships, providing valued public utility services and operating responsibly.
- Heard an update on the city of Wenatchee’s appeal of a recent court ruling that the business and occupation tax imposed by the city on PUD water customers inside the city limits was unlawful. The District sued the city on behalf of about 2,600 PUD customers affected by the city tax.
- Learned the PUD is doubling rebates to customers who install insulation and energy-efficient windows to save energy and improve comfort. The fall conservation special raises insulation incentives from 25 cents to 50 cents a square foot and rebates for energy-saving windows from $3 to $6 a square foot.