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

PUD considering acquisition of water system in Skamokawa


November 9, 2017

The Wahkiakum PUD Board of Commissioners gave the general manager approval to investigate the possibility of acquiring a water system in Skamokawa, and listened to reports, including one from a Bonneville Power Administration representative, on Tuesday.

“Westside Water shareholders had a meeting and they approached the PUD,” General Manager Dave Tramblie told the commissioners. “We had a meeting where they indicated they were interested in the PUD running the system for them. There is going to be a lot of administrative work, including contacting the Department of Health, and working on some specific issues that need to be addressed.”

Commissioner Dennis Reid pointed out that the water system that served Skamokawa had no debt and was making a little money.

“I think we should definitely give the manager approval to proceed until we hit a roadblock or something,” Reid said. “When somebody comes to us for a request like that for service, that’s what we do, we should try to meet that, if it’s feasible.”

After some discussion, the commissioners approved the motion to move forward.

“I think Westside Water is doing this for honorable reasons,” Commissioner Gene Healy said, “and we are too, so it’s a match made in heaven.

Melanie Jackson, a transmission account executive from BPA started off the reports.

“We are working on some reorganization, not just the agency, but on the transmission side of the house,” Jackson said. She also said they were trying to streamline their planning process before fielding questions from the commissioners.

Tramblie reported that the PUD crews had spent much of a 24 hour period making repairs caused by damaging wind and rain on October 21 and 22. He also said that the PUD had assisted Westside Water with an emergency water break in Skamokawa last week.

“The county pitched in,” Tramblie said, “they brought us a load of rock to put back in the road, which was extremely helpful. It was good. Everyone worked together.”

Last week, the PUD also removed a couple of overhead spans on East Valley Road due to potential problems with trees, and moved them underground.

Tramblie said that one customer had opted out of the radio read meters, despite a one time $80 opt out fee and a $15 monthly charge.

“In Grant County, I believe it’s $450 for the one time opt out fee,” Reid said. “And the monthly is $60, I think. I think we’ve been very fair.”

Reid was on the right track. It actually costs Grant County PUD customers $250.99 for the one time opt out fee, and $64.34 each month to have an employee manually check their meter.

Tramblie said that he was awaiting a report from an engineer regarding the upgrade project for the Grays River substation. Tramblie hopes to replace the high side fuse and the low side bus on the transformer. He would also like to get a new transformer and new regulators.

Auditor Erin Wilson said that state auditors had finished their work on site and that an exit conference was scheduled for November 21.

After a Public Utility Risk Management Services cyber security workshop, Wilson said that a cyber risk assessment was requested for all utilities in their pool.

“We need to have a baseline,” Wilson said. “We’ll set a standard to strive for. That will be a good thing to come out of that, for all of us, since we share that risk.”

Commissioners canceled the current bids on the Western Wahkiakum Water System computer upgrades at Tramblie’s request.

“All three bids were over budget,” Tramblie said. “We’ll go back to the drawing board.”


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