PUD survives season's first big storm


November 17, 2022

Scott Corwin of Northwest Public Power Association spoke to the Wahkiakum County PUD Board of Commissioners at their meeting on Tuesday before they listened to reports and voted to adopt a resolution on the 2023 budget.

Corwin spoke to the commissioners about the work his organization does to support utilities and their employees, including education and training, recruitment and retainment, communications, and more.

General Manager Dan Kay reported on the PUD’s response during the recent storm.

“We survived our first major storm fairly well,” Kay said. “Some of the biggest challenges were that issues didn’t occur in isolated areas or group areas.”

Instead crews had to travel from the west end of the county, to the east end, and then back again.

“It was just the way Mother Nature played out,” he said. “There was a lot of windshield time. A lot of water on the roads.”

Kay also said that the PUD has completed their tree trimming project, which they were doing two days a week for four weeks. He learned that there were still some problem areas that need attention, but he gained insight on how to improve line construction.

“We did have a fair amount of time with the Washington Department of Transportation clearing roads, so that the public could continue to get up and down the highway,” Kay said.

Kay said that the electric crew was still connecting new customers, but would turn their focus to pole replacement and overhead to underground cable replacement as the weather permitted.

The water crew is back at the Altoona Bridge for more repairs.

“Earlier this year we had a water leak in fittings on the south side of Altoona Bridge,” he said, “we just found the same problem on the north side.”

He added that asbestos would be removed from the flooring in the meeting room beginning November 28 and should be done that week. After that is complete, they will continue to remodel the room.

Auditor Erin Wilson said that the PUD had received a final contract from the Department of Commerce. The PUD would receive about $18,000 to help the 20-21 customers who still had arrearages.

“Which will bring some current, and make headway for others,” Commissioner Dennis Reid said.

Commissioners adopted a resolution approving the $6,221,975 budget for the PUD.

“We’re in a sound financial position,” Kay said.

This includes $5,809,200 in total revenues plus $412,775 in reserves. Some of the expenditures planned include $250,000 for tree trimming, and $177,100 to replace a small bucket truck. They are also planning to add cameras as part of a security update, $31,510 for mapping, and $261,000 for grant expenditures.


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