A report by the Washington State Auditor shows that the Grays Harbor Public Utility District is exceeding its goals for complying with the energy conservation standards required under Initiative 937, the Energy Independence Act (EIA).

In the Exit Conference Report delivered by the State Auditor on Friday morning, the PUD was found to have exceeded its two year target for energy conservation.  The PUD had set a conservation target of 19,009 megawatt hours for 2012-13.  The exit report states that the PUD conserved 19,884 megawatt hours during that two year period. 

“Congratulations to our Energy Services and Power Management staff,” said PUD Power Manager Melinda James-Saffron.  “Through their hard work, the Grays Harbor PUD is exceeding the high standards set by the state and by ourselves and is ensuring that the energy services the PUD provides to its customers is being used responsibly and efficiently.”

The PUD Energy Services Office works with both residential and non-residential customers to meet the standards set under the EIA.   This includes offering home and business energy audits and rebates for the purchase of energy efficient appliances and home and business weatherization work 

Passed by the voters in 2006, the EIA requires electric utilities with more than 25,000 customers to meet renewable energy and energy conservation standards.  Under the Act, the utility is permitted to set its conservation standard using a method called the Utility Analysis option.  Under this option, an outside consultant determines the conservation potential of the PUD and sets both two-year and ten- year goals.  Those goals are then approved by the PUD Board of Commissioners.

The Grays Harbor PUD has found a way to avoid landfill tipping fees for 10-thousand tons of bark-rock mixture from the Harbor Paper mill site.  Over the next week, the mixture will be hauled to the Decker Creek Gravel Pit in Mason County, where it will be used for a surface mine reclamation project.

“Finding the most cost-effective way to dispose of these products has been our goal from the beginning. It’s another case of innovation saving money for the customers of the Grays Harbor PUD,” said General Manager Dave Ward

The bark-rock mixture was originally purchased from the Weyerhaeuser Bay City sorting yard by the then Grays Harbor Paper company for use in the bio-fuel steam turbines.  When the mill closed, the mixture that had yet to be burned was left standing by the Ontario Street entrance to the facility, awaiting disposal as part of the PUD’s site clean-up obligations.  However, rather than hauling the mixture to the Stafford Creek Landfill, the PUD, in cooperation with Mason County Environmental Health, Grays Harbor County Environmental Health and the Washington State Departments of Natural Resources and Ecology found that the mixture could be used to provide an organic fill for the reclamation of the Decker Creek Gravel Pit.

In all, the transport of the mixture to Mason County is expected to cost the PUD about $82,300, roughly half the estimated cost for landfill disposal.

Contractors have also begun the demolition of the facilities water treatment clarifiers.  Once all salvageable materials have been removed, the remaining concrete rubble will be used by the City of Aberdeen for future construction projects.

Seahawks passion touched every corner of Washington state this season and the Grays Harbor PUD was no exception.  In addition to celebrating Blue Friday’s (and the occasional Monday, Wednesday and Thursday) with gusto, the PUD’s Relay for Life team, the Kilowatt Kids, used Seahawk mania to raise money for the American Cancer Society.  PUD employees happily donated through Seahawk Quarter Scoreboards, Seahawk baskets and Blue Week (the chance to wear Seahawks attire the week leading up to the Super Bowl).     

Grays Harbor Public Utility District Commissioner Arie Callaghan has been elected to serve as Assistant Secretary to the Energy Northwest Board of Directors.  Callaghan will serve a two-year term as Assistant Secretary for the board of the public power agency which represents 22 PUD’s and five municipal utilities. 

“I am very excited to take an active role in this organization and to have a positive impact,” said Callaghan.  “It’s gratifying to be a part of such a successful organization.”

“I want to thank Arie for accepting this leadership role on the board of directors.  I congratulate him and the newly re-elected officers representing the board of directors and the members of Energy Northwest,” said Energy Northwest Chief Executive Officer Mark Reddemann.

Energy Northwest is responsible for the operation of a mix of electricity generating resources, including hydro, solar, wind projects and the Northwest’s only nuclear power plant.  Combined they provide enough reliable, affordable and environmentally responsible energy to power more than a million homes each year.

“This is a great organization that benefits the entire region,” said Callaghan.  “To have a seat on its board of directors gives Grays Harbor a voice in the discussion that will help to shape energy policy in the Northwest.”

Callaghan was elected to the Grays Harbor PUD Board of Commissioners in 2012.  He was appointed to the Energy Northwest Board of Directors in March 2014. 


It was far less formal than planned, but Grays Harbor PUD Commissioner Russ Skolrood has been sworn into office.  Skolrood, who was reelected to his District Three post in November, took the oath of office on Monday afternoon, administered by Clerk to the Board and notary public Tiffanee Chaufty.

Although informal, the oath is official and will allow Skolrood to begin his second term and vote on Board action.  A formal ceremony will be held at a later date.

Skolrood was originally scheduled to take the oath before Superior Court Judge David Edwards at the beginning of the PUD’s first Board of Commissioners meeting of 2015 (scheduled for 4:30 Monday afternoon).  However, due to the aftermath of the morning’s flooding, the meeting was shortened and the ceremony postponed.