The Wahkiakum County Eagle - Established as The Skamokawa Eagle in 1891

Cold December weather boosts PUD bills


January 21, 2016

The Wahkiakum County PUD meeting was a series of reports on Tuesday morning after Commissioner Dennis Reid shared that he had received a couple complaints about high bills from customers.

“I had the highest bill I’ve ever had this last month too,” General Manager Dave Tramblie said.

“I think everybody did,” Reid said.

“We had extremely high bills this billing period,” Auditor Erin Wilson agreed. “And it was a long billing period.”

The long billing period and higher customer usage last month seemed to be to blame.

Moving on, Tramblie reported that he had attended a Public Power Council members forum where representatives from the Bonneville Power Administration spoke about how they were moving forward in their industry.

“I just felt an openness and transparency that I haven’t seen from Bonneville,” Tramblie said. “The conversation with the group was pretty pleasant and BPA had a tone of listening. I think Bonneville has a little different perspective going forward.”

“They know there is potential for competition and they are on the right track,” Commissioner Gene Healy said.

Tramblie also shared that 90 percent of the LED yard lights had been installed and the new bucket truck was due to arrive soon.

Tramblie attended a recent meeting with the Department of Health, Gray and Osborne Engineering and the Town of Cathlamet to discuss a solution to an intake issue at the treatment plant.

“An interim solution sounds like it has been received well by the town, Tramblie said. “As far as the PUD is concerned, we just need to work with them to get this issue resolved. From my perspective we’re on a fast track and something should occur this summer.”

He said that he had later met with the DOH and an engineer to discuss the Western Wahkiakum Water System Plan. Tramblie will address the system plan again after the DOH completes their own 10 year plan, hopefully by the end of the year.

“Once that’s done it will be easier to look at our plan and what options we have,” Tramblie said.

After collecting a couple quotes, Tramblie is considering the purchase of 240 electric meters that can be read remotely, plus a device to collect the data. Altogether, these items will cost the PUD approximately $17,500 as they continue to transition to an automated meter reading system.

During Wilson’s report, she shared that employees had finished training with new software and hand held devices to read meters.

“The meter readers are happy with the handhelds,” Wilson said. “There are still a few bugs to be worked out with the software.”

Wilson also expressed gratitude for being able to attend a meeting about carbon taxes.

“There are several out there,” Reid said about carbon taxes after Wilson’s report. “Part of the problem is we don’t know how many are going to get approved or if they are going to stack on top of each other. It’s a scary situation.”


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