Infrared "hot spots" help PUD predict outages

Manager credits tree trimming and other preventative measures for mild outages during winter storm


January 18, 2024

On Tuesday, the Wahkiakum County Public Utitilies District Board of Commissioners received a brief update on how things went over the last frigid, snowy week and learned about what’s coming up next at the PUD.

“Tree trimming pays dividends,” General Manager Dan Kay said. “In the last week, and I can’t remember if it was Tuesday or Wednesday, we started the morning, we’ll say midnight, with 62 mph winds and ended the day with two inches of snow. Climate change aside, that was a pretty healthy swing of weather. We had very few outages, even over this past weekend.

“Thank you for supporting the vegetation management, thank you for the 2024 funding cycle.Our crews continue to tree trim, but it’s been really paying dividends,” he reiterated.

Kay said that after the snow was plowed out of their parking lot that morning, the electric crew would start tackling some hot spots they located with their infrared camera last week, and replace equipment before it failed. The water crew would continue to do maintenance and clear roadways to necessary PUD locations, like water towers.

He said they would also reach out to their customers with high meter readings to see if they had any possible leaks.

The PUD is awaiting designs for a looping project on Puget Island from Mike Johnson, an engineer with Gray and Osborne, as well as designs for another project along SR 4 in western Wahkiakum County. Johnson will also begin making data requests from Town of Cathlamet for their feasibility study, which will determine all the factors the PUD needs to consider if they decide to take over the town’s water system.

Commissioner Bob Jungers asked for a status on the project to locate an alternate water source on Puget Island, and Kay said they were seeking $300,000 in funding to get a well drilled, and they might be able to move forward later this summer.


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