The Grays Harbor PUD has released the following statement of the release of the final Columbia River System Operations Environmental Impact Statement(EIS), which recognizes the value of hydropower to the Pacific Northwest and the Lower Snake River Dams:
“Four years of testimony from stakeholders, examination of the best science available, and consideration of opinions from every conceivable position have led to the this document, which recognizes the value of the hydroelectric system to the Pacific Northwest, the importance of the Lower Snake River dams to that system, and offers a compromise solution that addresses the natural environment and the needs of our region.
“The EIS directly addresses the false claims that the Lower Snake River Dams are obsolete, not critical to the regions energy system and can be easily removed. The EIS also recognizes the impacts that the hydroelectric system has on salmon runs, but offers a reasonable, data-backed compromise solution of increased spill and mitigation efforts that will aid in salmon recovery while allowing utilities to keep the lights on throughout the region.
“While the increased spill to aid in fish migration recommended in the final document may mean a decrease in energy production and an increase in Bonneville Power Administration wholesale rates, the impacts of those concessions are far less than the devastating impacts that would come with the removal of the four Lower Snake River Dams. The dams are a critical component not only of the regions energy system, but also to surrounding areas economic, recreational, and agricultural well-being.
“The Grays Harbor PUD thanks the Army Corps of Engineers, Bonneville Power Administration and the Bureau of Reclamation for their diligent work on this important subject and for the inclusive nature of the EIS process which allowed the opinions of all parties to shape a reasonable and acceptable path forward.”
Grays Harbor PUD has taken steps to help customers who are experiencing financial difficulties due to the COVID-19 Pandemic. Since April, the PUD has suspended late fees, residential disconnects, and postponed our rate increase. We are committed to helping our customers through this difficult time.
We feel it is important that our customers know assistance is available to those directly impacted by Covid-19. A bill insert was included in June’s customer bills letting customers know how to receive assistance and the eligibility criteria.
We have continued to contact customers by phone, mail or encouragement to contact us through a bill insert. In July, the District began an outreach program for customer’s we had not been able to reach. A district representative started physically going to customer’s homes to explain the different options available for assistance or extended pay arrangements.
The Grays Harbor PUD has partnered with community agencies to help our customers find assistance. Coastal Community Action Program works with eligible customers to help them get assistance with their power bills. They have received additional funds to help customers who have been directly affected by COVID 19 who have already received LIHEAP funds this year. Customers should contact CCAP at 360-533-5100 to see if they qualify for the program.
The Grays Harbor PUD has created a Pandemic Assistance Program for customers directly impacted by COVID-19. Customers who are experiencing financial difficulties should contact customer service to see if they qualify.
Additionally, we are working with our customers to help extend normal pay arrangements, giving eligible customers more time to pay off their past due balances. We also offer budget billing and a senior disabled discount program. Customers should call customer service to get more information on what program will be right for them.
Contact customer service at:
360-532-4220 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
The Grays Harbor Public Utility District is notifying customers of a planned power outage in Ocean Shores beginning at 9:30 AM on Monday, June 22, 2020. The outage is expected to last until 2:30 PM on that day and will affect roughly 40 customers. Those impacted are residents on Sollecks Ave. SE, Itswoot Ave. SE, Skamokawa Court SE, Toleak St. SE and some residents of Quinault Ave. SE (#595-603). All impacted customers will receive a notification phone call from the PUD.
The outage is part of an ongoing project by the PUD to replace aging power poles in the area. During the outage crews will move power lines from old poles to the new ones.
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 four five hours is only an estimate and power could be restored at any time as work is completed. Therefore, it is not safe to do electrical work or repairs during that period.
A report from the Washington State Auditor’s Office has found the Grays Harbor PUD to be in compliance with the Energy Independence Act. Passed in 2006 as Initiative 937, the act requires the utility to obtain 9% of its energy from sources defined as “renewable.” In a report delivered on Tuesday, the Auditor found that the PUD reached its goal of 84,439 megawatt hours in 2018 and 86,856 megawatt hours 2019 through a combination of wind, solar and biomass generation and renewable energy credits. This marks the eighth consecutive year in which the PUD has been in compliance with EIA requirements.
“This report is a message to our customers that their utility continues to responsibly provide energy that is a benefit to the utility and to the environment,” said General Manager Dave Ward. “Washington has been a leader in clean and renewable energy for decades and I am very proud that Grays Harbor PUD continues to play a role in that tradition.”
In a year marked by two significant events, 2019 saw the number of major power outages fall slightly and all measurable system reliability numbers came in well below five year averages. A system reliability report released by the Grays Harbor PUD on Monday revealed that the total number of major outages on the utility system (50 or more customers impacted) was down from 296 events in 2018 to 290 events in 2019. While the total number of customers impacted rose from 54,446 to 57,326, the total hours without service dropped from 198,483 to 181,474.
“Once again our system has performed well under tough conditions and our crews have shown themselves to be amongst the best in the business,” said General Manager Dave Ward. “For several years our emphasis has been on system strength and vegetation management and this report tells us that the work is paying off in the form of fewer outages and fewer hours in which our customers were without power.”
The 2019 numbers were significantly impacted by two events: a storm on January 6th that knocked out power to over 27,000 customers from the ocean beaches to East County and a car versus pole accident in Central Park on February 5th that brought down a transmission pole, interrupting power to over 7,100 customers in Central Park and Montesano.
Downed trees and storm events continued to be the main causes of outages, accounting for 76% of power interruptions in 2019. While the number of tree related outages were below the five year average for the second straight year, Ward says it shows the importance of the utility’s tree trimming and mowing cycle.
“We’ve got to keep at it,” said Ward. “Washington is called the Evergreen State for a reason and without regular attention to tree trimming and undergrowth mowing, you can end up in a situation where blowdowns and falling trees can cause outage numbers to rise.”