PUD board approves mapping system purchase


September 8, 2022

Wahkiakum PUD Board of Commissioners discussed the benefits of mapping their systems, approved an intent to apply for funding to do so, and heard reports on Tuesday.

During open discussion, Commissioner Dennis Reid said he was happy with Wahkiakum West’s broadband expansion on the east side of the county but was concerned that they were not going to reach “the last mile.”

“What I would like,” he said, “is to think about in the future of trying to find a way to get to that last mile. Of every valley. I would just like us to keep our thinking hats on and maybe down the road, maybe there is something that can be done so that these people can have high speed internet.”

General Manager Daniel Kay said one of his goals at the PUD was to get their systems mapped. He said he had learned that there were grants available to do so.

“I believe it is a need, not a want,” Kay said of the mapping.

He said that PCS, the software vendor that handles the PUD’s customer service and financial package, has a mapping module.

“It was really well accepted by the crew,” Auditor Erin Wilson told commissioners. “They look at it and see it as very user friendly, very doable, and they are excited about it.”

Kay explained that mapping the system would create a database that would help them develop a picture of the system. It would not only count all the components of the system and show where they were, it would also help them answer a variety of questions that come their way.

“We can look at our low density discount, and Bonneville might ask how many circuit miles do you have? Or if a particular area flooded, which customers would be impacted? If you can think of the question, we can draw the data, and make a picture of it,” Kay said.

“I don’t think there is any downside to getting the system mapped,” Reid said.

Commissioners later approved the PUD’s intent to apply for Department of Commerce funding for the intended use of mapping the district’s electric system.

During the manager’s report, Kay said that Advanced Diving would be conducting tank inspections and cleaning. He also said that the water crew had been finding and repairing leaks on Altoona/Pillar Rock Road, on Fairview Road, and in Skamokawa.

New hookups are keeping both the water and electric crews busy.

The electric crew is continuing to trim trees, and after replacing some of the easier poles that need replacing in the system, have now begun to focus on the more challenging poles.

“It takes a lot of preparation,” Kay said. “We have a great, great crew working on that.”

Kay said that he and Wilson were continuing to seek grants, and that he had learned that Energy Northwest, which had been very active in an Electrify Washington State project, was working with the Department on a project that could bring an electric charging station to Cathlamet.

In a continuing discussion about improving the meeting room, Kay said they discovered asbestos in the tile underneath the carpet, and that it extended to the kitchen area. After speaking with an environmental contractor, plans were being made for abatement.

Wilson said that a preliminary budget for next year would presented in October. She said that the PUD was not awarded a $20,000 organizing the file room grant that they had applied for. She had wanted to get a lot of shredding done and to replace 30 year old file cabinets that have some safety issues.

She said they would be putting file cabinets into the budget.

“We’ll try again,” she said.


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