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

PUD considers discounts for seniors, disabled


February 8, 2018

Several issues came up for discussion at the Wahkiakum County PUD Board of Commissioners meeting on Tuesday, including a discount for senior and disabled low income customers, Washington State House Bill 2402, and internet service.

General Manager Dave Tramblie reported that a house bill that may end up before the state legislature could affect the PUD and its customers.

“It has to do with conservation,” Tramblie said. “If it passes, it’s going to mandate that we have two percent of our retail load saved in conservation efforts annually.”

Currently, Tramblie said, the Wahkiakum PUD’s results are less than one percent.

“In order to double our savings, it is not going to cost us twice as much, it’s going to cost us exponentially more,” he said. Currently, they spend $50,000 a year.

Utilities that are unable to meet the standard that is proposed will be charged a $50 penalty per megawatt hour.

“If I’ve done my calculations right,” Tramblie said, “it could cost us $25,000 every biennium.”

“It’s a bad bill,” he added. “Hopefully it won’t go too far. I’ve even offered to go up and testify if need be. It’s probably the worst bill I’ve seen for Wahkiakum PUD in 20 years. This one is not good for our customers.”

Auditor Erin Wilson suggested that the PUD increase the eligibility for their low income senior disabled program by five percent to reflect inflation. The program, which hasn’t been updated since 2014, provides discounts to customers who qualify.

After some talk, the commissioners expressed a willingness to not only increase the eligibility limit but the discount as well. They will continue to discuss the matter at a later date.

Commissioner Dennis Reid said that a customer had asked him about the PUD providing internet service, which led to a lengthy discussion about local providers, and potential solutions.

The commissioners approved several items:

• Additional verbiage in a PUD policy that addresses unsuccessful auto-payments.

• A bid from Pacific Truck Colors in the amount of $20,676 for a truck bed for the new Dodge Ram.

• A bid from Hamer Electric in the amount of $33,280.71 for the Western Wahkiakum Water well site programmable logic controller and computer upgrades.

• Travel to the Evergreen Safety Council for Shane Pfenniger to acquire a traffic control supervisor certification.

Tramblie is planning to have the condition of the Puget Island water main assessed soon. He also suggested that the PUD take video and do a thorough inventory of the main in case there are changes during the construction planned by the Washington State Department of Transportation.

“If you and your experts think it’s necessary, do it,” Commissioner Gene Healy said.

Finally, Tramblie reported that he had a draft copy of the agreement between the PUD and Westside Water in Skamokawa. They were working out some details, but hoped to move forward soon.


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