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

PUD starts planning replacement of Grays River substation


March 22, 2018

By Diana Zimmerman

Wahkiakum County PUD Commissioners met on Tuesday morning to listen to reports and approve a resolution to accept changes to a senior and disabled low income discount program.

General Manager Dave Tramblie reported that the PUD is making plans to replace the Grays River transformer during the summer of 2019. A recommendation to replace the transformer as soon as possible came after a condition assessment last summer.

“We can continue to patch it,” Tramblie said, “but I think that would be a mistake.”

Tramblie estimates that the project could cost the PUD as much as a million dollars. He and Auditor Erin Wilson are looking into options to pay for the project.

The intertie with Pacific County PUD will not only facilitate the project by providing Westend customers with power while the transformer is offline, it will be strengthened when the old transformer is replaced with a new one that can handle larger loads.

“Would it be more than adequate to handle our responsibilities to the intertie?” Commissioner Bob Jungers asked.

Tramblie gave an affirmative.

The PUD recently presented a contract to Westside Water, according to Tramblie. The PUD had been asked to take over the operations of the water system in Skamokawa.

“We’ve given them what we think is a fair offer and now they have the contract to look over,” Tramblie said. “The ball is in their court.”

According to Tramblie, there is currently a small water system management plan in place for the system. The plan was approved in 2010 and is good for 10 years.

“It is possible to just continue using that plan,” Tramblie said. “I’m not sure I’m going to recommend that. I’ve done some more research and talked to the Department of Health. They said it was fine to put Westside Water within the Western Wahkiakum Comprehensive Plan.”

He has asked an engineer to determine the cost to do so.

Tramblie shared that he had received a call from a woman who was interested in setting up a bitcoin facility in Wahkiakum County. After discussing rates, both parties determined it wasn’t likely to happen here.

“Those outfits are here today, gone tomorrow,” Commissioner Dennis Reid said.

Finally, Tramblie said that Brown & Kysar were sending someone to investigate an irregular sequence in the system after a windstorm earlier this year.

“He is going to download the sequence of events and research why it’s not functioning like it should be,” Tramblie said. “I appreciate that they are willing to come out here on their own dime and research it.”

Auditor Erin Wilson reported that there is currently $54 available in the Residential Energy Assistance Program.

Wilson also said there had been a lot of interest in the low income senior and disabled discount program.

The commissioners passed two resolutions--the new senior and disabled low income discount program and another which would allow commissioners to attend meetings by phone.

The next PUD meeting is scheduled for April 3 at 8:30 a.m. in the PUD meeting room.


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