PUD invited to join in dam preservation

Wifi ribbon cutting scheduled


The Wahkiakum County PUD Board of Commissioners learned about Northwest River Partners and heard reports at their bimonthly meeting on Tuesday.

Kurt Miller spoke to the commissioners about his role as executive director for the Northwest River Partners, and the organization’s goals and strategies.

“Our goal is to make sure what is happening with the natural gas industry doesn’t happen to hydropower,” he said.

The organization is active on social media, has written several op-eds, and is working on messaging for all ages, including K-12, in order to promote hydropower and keep the dams on the lower Snake River.

After his presentation, Miller asked the PUD to consider membership. Minimum dues are currently $3,400 and will rise to $5,000 next year.

Commissioner Bob Jungers said he was interested in participating in their support but wasn’t sure that advocacy fit into Wahkiakum PUD’s mission statement. He later said that the PUD’s mission was to provide the highest possible reliability with the lowest possible cost.

“We’re one of four utilities in the state that do not participate in River Partners,” General Manager Dan Kay said.

“It’s definitely going to affect our rate payers if the dams are taken out,” Commissioner Dennis Reid asserted.

The matter will be addressed at a later date.

“I completely support it,” Kay said, “but let’s put some numbers together.”

The pole testing and treatment project has been completed, Kay told the commissioners. They learned there are 3,630 poles in the system and there had been a reject rate of 2.4 percent during the project.

The PUD is replacing the poles, but are being cautious because of continuing supply issues, Kay added.

Kay said that Wahkiakum West was working on their broadband project between the base of KM to Alger Heights and would soon connect customers in the area to the system.

A PUD crew rebuilt a road to a tank in Skamokawa and added drainage so they could get trucks and equipment to the site, Kay said, and the crew was busy replacing pipe in Skamokawa Water System.

There was only one power outage in the last two weeks.

Kay said that a ribbon cutting was planned for the public wifi project in Cathlamet. It is scheduled to take place in front of the Wahkiakum County Courthouse today (Thursday) at 2 p.m.


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