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

PUD replaces failed voltage transformers


February 23, 2017

Commissioners and staff discussed state legislative matters that might affect the Wahkiakum County PUD at the board of commissioner’s meeting on Tuesday. They also listened to reports and made General Manager Dave Tramblie’s 4 percent raise official.

Two bills that commissioners are concerned about are senate bill 5711 and house bill 1921. Both deal with telecommunications services. They are also watching house bill 1330, which has to do with tax exemptions for funds received from Bonneville Power Administration to be used for low income rate payer assistance.

During the manager’s report, Tramblie said that crews had found a damaged voltage transformer at the Wahkiakum substation after the last snow storm. After purchasing a new one and setting out to replace it they found that more had failed. Bonneville Power Administration was notified, and last Wednesday, they were replaced, with some help from Brown and Kysar and a “retired gentleman from Clark County.”

“It was a very interesting exercise,” Tramblie said. “It all worked out well. We have to thank our neighboring utility for allowing us to beg, borrow, and steal spare voltage transformers. We did our due diligence and were able to rectify the problem by having the right people making the right decisions.”

The transformers that failed at the Wahkiakum substation were four years old, according to Tramblie.

“This is rare,” Tramblie said. “We think that these had a flaw when they were manufactured. The ones in Grays River are as old as I am. They were made to last.”

When that project was completed, crews set about removing limbs and repairing minor damage around the county, even joining the county road crew to remove dangerous trees from a slide area on Altoona-Pillar Rock Road.

Tramblie reported that crews had converted about 35 percent of the water meters on Puget Island to AMR. They are expecting 250 more meters to arrive soon.

The Residential Energy Assistance Program currently has a balance of $485, according to Auditor Erin Wilson.

“Our balance is low and there is a big need for it right now,” Wilson said. “It would be nice to get it built back up again.”

Commissioner Dennis Reid reported that the rate increase for power from BPA would be 2.3 percent. He said that he had also heard that there was a 50-50 chance of a CRAC (Cost Recovery Adjustment Clause) this year, which could affect rates.

The manager’s salary was officially adjusted as the commissioners voted to approve the resolution. The 4 percent raise means Tramblie will now receive $10,818.56 per month, retroactive January 1, 2017.

The next PUD meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, March 7, at 8:30 a.m. in the PUD meeting room.


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