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

PUD board considers old, new projects


October 10, 2019

The Wahkiakum County PUD Board of Commissioners listened to reports on Tuesday and passed two resolutions, one regarding changes to their policy on the small works roster, and the other a new policy regarding work phones issued to employees.

Commissioner Gene Healy initiated a conversation about electric vehicle charging stations, by asking Laurel Waller, the owner of the Hotel Cathlamet and a member of the town council, about the station at the hotel.

“I’m wondering if there is any more discussion around town about electric chargers,” Healy said.

“There should be,” Waller said. “There are people coming.”

Healy speculated that if a location could be found, perhaps the PUD could install a charger, which might encourage more use.

“I don’t know if there are any commuters around that might consider an electric car but they might,” Healy said. “I was thinking it would be nice if we could have it so handy that people would come to the main part of town for whatever, but if you had to charge for two or three hours, I can’t even figure out what to do in Cathlamet for two hours.”

General Manager Dave Tramblie gave an update on PUD projects, including the Grays River substation.

The new Grays River transformer was energized on September 26, and on October 3, the new regulators were energized. By noon that same day, Westend customers were back on the Grays River substation, and no longer being fed by the intertie with Pacific County.

“It was a joint effort by everybody at the utility,” Tramblie said. “I’m pretty proud of everybody. My engineer for putting it together, the contractor did an awesome job. Through some due diligence, I think we came up with the right solution.”

“It causes me to reflect back to 2012 when we energized the Wahkiakum substation,” he continued. “In the past 12 years, we’ve invested about $3.6 million into this plant, now we have back up reliability on both ends of this county. Its just a really comfortable position to be in compared to where we have been in the past. We’ve got redundancy. I’m pretty pleased with both projects.”

Tramblie estimated that the intertie project with Pacific County and the Grays River substation project cost the PUD about 1.5 million dollars.

He had considered putting in new fencing at the Grays River substation, but a bid of $45,000 changed his mind. Instead he opted to replace a couple fence posts and continue to monitor the condition of the fence.

The State Road project to replace the older underground cables with overhead three phase conductor on Puget Island was almost complete as of Tuesday morning, Tramblie said.

Finally, he said that Gray and Osborne engineers had been in Skamokawa on Monday to work on the design for the water project.

A Western Wahkiakum Water System Plan has been completed by Gray and Osborne, revisions have been made, and after the commissioners look over the changes and agree to adopt them, the plan will get sent back to Department of Health for approval. The plan will be good for 10 years and cost the PUD around $21,000, Tramblie said.

Commissioners approved a resolution to amend the small works roster and vendor roster procedures and a resolution adopting a wireless communication device use policy after Tramblie decided that every employee should have a utility telephone and not be using personal devices to “communicate PUD business.”

They also approved travel for Tramblie to attend a telecommunications conference in Ashland in late October before adjourning the meeting.


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