Established as The Skamokawa Eagle in 1891

PUD discusses net metering policy

The Wahkiakum County PUD Board of Commissioners talked about renewables and their net metering policy before hearing reports and heading into an executive session on Tuesday.

There was a lengthy discussion regarding the PUD’s net metering policy. The policy addresses how customers who use solar power or other renewables are credited for the power they generate. Utilities are feeling increasing pressure from the Washington State legislature to encourage their customers to adopt renewables and there are questions about what that will mean for the customers who can afford to embrace them, as well as all the other customers who may be subsidizing their use.

There are benefits to the utility, as an increase in renewables potentially keeps the PUD’s kilowatt hours down and could prevent them from moving into Bonneville’s higher Tier 2 rates. There is also a fear that they could lose revenue when their usual load is no longer being generated through traditional sources; revenue which helps to maintain the system.

“We’re still in the initial stages and reviewing rate structures that are appropriate for everybody to be equal,” General Manager Dan Kay said.

“I’m all for encouraging renewables. Is it fair to all of us? I just want to make sure that it is,” Commissioner Gene Healy said.

That conversation is just beginning.

Kay said during the general manager’s report that the contractor performing the tree trimming service was working along SR 4 in the Rosburg area and slowly heading east. The project is expected to continue through mid-August.

“There have been no issues or complaints,” Kay said. “I’ve just been really tickled to death with what they’ve been doing there.”

Electric crews continue to replace poles in their system and are focused on customer service work and underground replacement. On the water side, the crew has been doing new installations, and are busy tracking down leaks in the Skamokawa Water System.

According to Auditor Erin Wilson, the Washington Department of Commerce is awarding the PUD more than $7,000 to help pay for arrearages.

Bringing a water system to the Deep River community is still much on Commissioner Dennis Reid’s mind. He suggested that the PUD approach the problem in a different way by requesting grants from the public works board and doing it a piece at a time instead of trying to get one large sum of federal money for the whole project.

“It might take a while, but maybe we can get something going,” Reid said.

The public meeting was closed for an executive session to discuss the performance of a public employee.


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