As a result of lower than suggested cash reserves, Fitch Credit Ratings has announced it will lower the Grays Harbor PUD credit rating from A-stable to A-negative.  The decrease is isolated to future outlook and does not reflect upon the PUD’s day-to-day financial management or operations.

It is suggested that utilities carry a cash/credit reserve equal to one quarter of operating expenses.  Currently the PUD cash reserves would cover one month of operations.  In order to reach the recommended reserve total, the utility would need to implement a one-time customer surcharge of between 16-18%.  That is something the utility is not willing to do.

“We cannot in good conscience pass an increase on to our customers to increase the size of our bank account,” said PUD Commission President Arie Callaghan.  “While we acknowledge the circumstances related to the rating downgrade, we will continue to responsibly manage our finances, build up our reserves and strengthen our financial position in a reasonable timeframe that will have a minimal impact on our customers.”

The main result of the credit rating change will be higher interest rates for future borrowing.   However, Finance Director Kathryn Skolrood and General Manager Dave Ward do not anticipate the need for increased credit usage and larger bond issuance in the near future.

“The utility has a plan in place to align reserves to the recommended levels in a time frame that fits our needs.  This effort will be greatly aided by the expiration of costly and unnecessary energy contracts in 2023,” said Skolrood.  “This is the responsible path forward.”

“The best choice is to stay the course and keep to the plan we have been following for the past two years,” said Callaghan. 

In addition, the PUD will continue its leadership role in economic development in Grays Harbor.  More business means greater electric load use and growth which allows the PUD to absorb changes in the power market.

“The PUD continues to work with Greater Grays Harbor Inc., the Port of Grays Harbor and our legislative and local leaders to foster economic development in Grays Harbor,” said Ward.  “By increasing the ratio of commercial to residential customers, it makes the PUD less susceptible to weather related impacts, power price increases and other factors that affect our bottom line.”

The Grays Harbor Public Utility District is notifying customers in Queets, Clearwater and Kalaloch and the surrounding area of a planned power outage beginning at 8:00 AM on July 10, 2018.  The outage is expected to last until roughly 4:00 PM and will impact around 106 customers.

The outage will impact customers from 7127 US 101 north to the end of the PUD lines in Kalaloch.  Also impacted will be customers on Clearwater Road, Jackson Heights Road and Queets Avenue.  The outage is necessary as the PUD carries out distribution system relocation work in coordination with a WSDOT culvert replacement project and performs maintenance work at the Crane Creek substation.

In preparation for this outage, customers are advised to take precautions with any electronic equipment such as computers, televisions, and microwaves by unplugging those items.  You should leave them disconnected until after the power has been fully restored. 

The outage time of 8 hours is only an estimate and power could be restored at anytime as work is completed.  Therefore, it is not safe to do electrical work or repairs during that period of time.

The Grays Harbor Public Utility District is notifying customers on a portion of Mox Chehalis Road and the surrounding area of a planned power outage beginning at 8:00 AM on June 27, 2018.  The outage is expected to last until roughly 6:00 PM and will impact around 133 customers.

The outage will impact customers from 1143 Mox Chehalis Road north to State Route 8 and east to the Straddleline ORV Park.  Also impacted will be customers on roads adjacent to Mox Chehalis Road, including Foreman Road, Heslap Road, Mox Chehalis Road East, Mox Chehalis Branch Road and La Belle Lane.  In addition, customers on William McCleary and Cooper Roads, Marissa Lane and Maple Drive will also be impacted.  In the days leading up to the event, all impacted customers will receive telephone messages from the PUD notifying them of the upcoming outage.

The outage is necessary as the PUD coordinates with Grays Harbor County crews to relocate utilities to facilitate a bridge repair/replacement project.

In preparation for this outage, customers are advised to take precautions with any electronic equipment such as computers, televisions, and microwaves by unplugging those items.  You should leave them disconnected until after the power has been fully restored. 

The outage time of 10 hours is only an estimate and power could be restored at anytime as work is completed.  Therefore, it is not safe to do electrical work or repairs during that period of time.

Telephone scammers are renewing their calls targeting Grays Harbor PUD customers, threatening to shut-off their power if payments are not immediately made on accounts that they claim are delinquent.  PUD Customer Service staff have received multiple calls from commercial customers in Westport reporting they had been contacted by callers claiming to be with the PUD and demanding payment. 

Recipients of such fraudulent phone calls and mailings should under no circumstances agree to send money to the callers or give them bank account, credit card or other information. Rather, they are advised to contact PUD Customer Service at 360-532-4220 to verify the claim and to contact the office of their local law enforcement agency.

Grays Harbor PUD Board of Commissioners President Arie Callaghan has been elected to serve on the Executive Committee of Energy Northwest, a public power consortium formed by the state Legislature and based in the Tri-Cities.  As a member of the 11-member Executive Board, Callaghan will oversee operations of Energy Northwest and work with the agency’s Executive Director.   

“I appreciate the support of the Energy Northwest Board of Directors and look forward to working with the Executive Board and Executive Director in moving Energy Northwest forward,” said Callaghan.

A resident of Elma, Callaghan was first elected to the Grays Harbor PUD Board of Commissioners in 2012 and was appointed to the Energy Northwest Board of Directors in 2014.  In 2015 he was elected as the board assistant secretary; and in 2017 as board secretary.  He will officially join the Executive Board on June 17.

Based in the Tri-Cities, Energy Northwest owns and operates four electricity generating facilities: the Columbia Generating Station nuclear energy facility in Richland, the Nine Canyon Wind Project, the Packwood Lake Hydro Electric Project and the White Bluffs Solar Station.  Their Executive Board is made up of five member utility representatives, three gubernatorial appointees and three public sector representatives.


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