PUD manager reports on security, ice storm response
January 5, 2023
General Manager Dan Kay addressed substation security issues at the Wahkiakum County PUD Board of Commissioners meeting on Tuesday.
“We are taking it seriously,” he said. “Wahkiakum PUD is aware of substation vandalism events that have occurred recently in the Pacific Northwest and around our country. We have and are coordinating with our law enforcement agencies to communicate and increase the security at our substations. As part of this we cannot discuss specific details of our mitigation measures and strategies. We have not seen any events, but we are taking measures to address it.”
Kay also talked about the PUD response to outages during recent weather events.
"The last couple weeks has been focused on Mother Nature quite a bit,” Kay said.
Ice storms can be catastrophic, he said, but Altoona/Pillar Rock Road was the only area affected that day. For safety reasons, and to make sure that someone was available to respond to other potential outages, a small crew from the PUD headed west to get power back on to those customers.
“We made it out okay, but the weather was degrading and we ended up chaining both axles [of the truck] to get back, not normally something we would do,” Kay said.
The PUD also responded to strong winds a few days later, which knocked out power in Cathlamet. The crew was able to get most of their customers back on by 6 p.m., and the rest by 10 p.m.
For Kay, the wind storm highlighted the continued need to proactively address vegetation and “danger trees.”
Kay praised his electric and water crews, and expressed gratitude for supportive customers.
“We will work very hard to get everybody serviced as quick as we can,” he said. “We focus on the highest number of customers down to our single customer outages.”
Moving forward, the PUD will work on new customer installations, including the new subdivision on Greenwood Road, pole replacements, and addressing leaks in the PUD office building.
Commissioners approved Washington Public Utility Districts Association representatives. Commissioner Dennis Reid will be the voting representative and Commissioner Gene Healy will be his alternate.