PUD board hears from Energy Northwest


The Wahkiakum County PUD got a visit from Energy Northwest at the Board of Commissioners meeting on Tuesday.

Vicki Watilo, a member of the public affairs group for Energy Northwest (EN) spoke to the commissioners about the work being done at Columbia Generating Station. She talked about planned outages, like the one scheduled in 2017 for refueling. She also spoke about a recent unplanned shut down.

“Some refer to it as a scram in the nuclear industry,” Watilo said. “It was no threat to human safety. It was a human performance error; they were testing some pipes after the fact and unfortunately did not isolate one of the valves correctly. We were offline for approximately 63 hours. It was the first scram we had in six years. We strive not to have any but there are so many redundant safety systems in place.”

After talking about other things happening at EN, Watilo introduced Jennifer Harper from the energy services and development group. Harper talked about EN’s non-nuclear assets, including community solar, electric charging stations for vehicles and small modular reactors.

After their presentation, Town Councilman Dick Swart gave a quick update on the town comprehensive plan and asked that the PUD consider selecting a representative to join a task group.

“The comprehensive plan calls for the formation of a task group that will basically be giving us policy and vision input on what our goals and vision for the community for the next 10 years would be,” Swart said. “The last 15 years, a lot of things in the current comprehensive plan did not pan out for a variety of reasons.”

General Manager Dave Tramblie reported that some of the new automated electric and water meters had been installed and that the vendor had even been pleased when they went on a test run to pick up readings. They’d had 100 percent success.

Tramblie approached the vendor about making a deal to purchase 500 more water meters and 500 more electric meters for under $100,000.

“The water meters are currently about $200 and the electric meters cost about $60,” Tramblie said. “It would really be beneficial to get the island done.”

He is waiting for a quote and will keep the board informed.

Tramblie said he was looking into alternatives to provide dispatch for water and electric outages. The PUD currently uses the sheriff’s office, which costs $300 a month, according to Tramble. He believes the PUD could get the service for under $100 a month.

Commissioner Gene Healy cautioned Tramblie, saying that in his experience answering services had a lot of turnover.

“They are a pretty highly trained force up there,” Healy said of the sheriff’s office.

Finally Tramblie said that the state is asking him to make more changes to the intertie project because of a scenic designation. He has made adjustments and is awaiting approval.

The next PUD meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, July 5, at 8:30 a.m. in the PUD meeting room.


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