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

PUD: Grays River transformer should be replaced at a cost of $1 million


October 19, 2017

General Manager Dave Tramblie had some potentially expensive news at the Wahkiakum County PUD Board of Commissioner’s meeting on Tuesday morning, and a date was set for a budget a rate hearing in November.

Tramblie shared a report he had received regarding an inspection at the Grays River substation. According to the assessment from Specialty Engineering, the transformer showed signs of “significant deterioration since the last testing in 2012” and should be removed from service whenever a replacement could be purchased by the utility.

After describing more repairs that had been recommended, Tramblie estimated that the entire project could cost the PUD a million dollars, though he hoped to speak to a consultant from Brown & Kysar to determine exactly how much.

“They did an estimate for a new transformer for us about a year and a half ago, and it was in the $350,000 range for a 7.5 MVA (mega volt amp),” Tramblie said.

After discussing a couple more options with the commissioners, Tramblie said he thought this was the best choice.

“I think it’s the right course of action,” he said. “The transformer is 71 years old. It might last 10 more years or it could go out tomorrow. This is a critical element in our ability to serve our customers. To do nothing is not an option in my mind. I need a little more time and a little more due diligence just to make sure I’m not missing something by talking with some different engineers.”

“We serve 500 meters from that substation?” Commissioner Bob Jungers asked. “That’s a lot of capitalization for not a lot of meters.”

“Its probably a 30 to 50 year fix if we upgraded everything I suggested,” Tramblie responded. Auditor Erin Wilson also pointed out that the new intertie project with Pacific meant that the PUD needed to be able to provide service for them as well, when necessary.

Tramblie asked the PUD to postpone the budget and rate hearing till later in the month of November in order to give him time to gather more information.

They agreed and set the budget and rate hearing for November 21.

After a question about comprehensive water plans, Tramblie took a look at Puget Island’s and the Westend’s plans. He shared what he found with the commissioners.

The focus of the Westend plan was to simply make upgrades. The Puget Island’s directives, however, included finding an emergency way to provide water to the island and building a reservoir.

“We also had conversations about coming up with a new source,” Tramblie said. “I think in the long run, that would be a great option for the community. Just as we now have a back up for our substations, we would have a back up source for water. I think that would make more sense than trying to come up with an emergency procedure for three days.”

In other news, Tramblie told the board he was considering fencing for the PUD property, which would cost about $30,000. He told them about a project on East Valley road to replace two overhead spans with underground in a spot where trees were deteriorating on a hillside.

Wilson went over some of the changes she made to the 2018 budget before the commissioners gave reports.

The next regular PUD meeting will be held on Tuesday, November 7, at 8:30 a.m. in the PUD meeting room.


Reader Comments


Powered by ROAR Online Publication Software from Lions Light Corporation
© Copyright 2019