Grays Harbor PUD Commissioner Russ Skolrood has a sizeable lead in the race for PUD Commissioner, District Three.  Skolrood, defending his seat for the first time, received 57% of the vote.  Challenger John Straka received 42%.  The next vote tally will be on Friday afternoon. 

Affordable improvements to safety and reliability highlight the Capital Budget being considered by the Grays Harbor PUD Board of Commissioners.

The PUD has allocated $10.2 million for improvements and upgrades to the PUD's distribution, substation and telecommunication infrastructure; a system at the heart of the utility services provided to over 48,000 customers in Grays Harbor County.

"Everywhere you look, people are making the tough choices that allow them to live within their means.  The Grays Harbor PUD is no different.  This is a budget driven by what the PUD needs, not what we want," said Commission President Russ Skolrood.  "In the past months, our staff has been working tirelessly to determine which projects will immediately serve the safety and reliability goals that are at the heart of the Grays Harbor PUD's mission.  Those are the projects that we have chosen to fund in the coming year."

"Our staff was asked to prioritize based on quality service and affordability," said General Manager Dave Ward.  "Providing safe and reliable utility services to our customer is the most important job we have and the Capital Budget that they have worked to create allows the PUD to fulfill that responsibility within the means available to us." 

The largest portion of the Capital Budget is the $4.2 million Distribution Budget that includes replacing aging poles, the addition of new power and cable lines and the purchase of new transformers.

The $2.3 million General Plant Budget will cover $427 thousand in communication, phone and radio projects, $550 thousand for new bucket trucks for the Quinault and Elma service areas and $770 thousand for the installation and implementation of new computer and IT systems.

The $1.8 million Substation Budget will include over $1 million for new transformers and microwave equipment, circuit breaker replacements and upgrades and miscellaneous system improvements.

The $1.7 million Transmission Budget will include nearly $1 million in pole and line replacement and maintenance work, $180 thousand to replace poles and address line clearance on a portion of the East Hoquiam Road, an area heavily impacted by outages and power surges, and $175 thousand to construct access roads allowing PUD crews easier and quicker access to transmission lines.

Resolutions approving the Capital and Operations and Maintenance budgets will be considered by the PUD Board of Commissioners at their regularly scheduled meeting on Monday, Nov. 17th.

As temperatures drop, power bills tend to rise.  For many of us, our fall and winter PUD bills can increase significantly because we are using more electricity to heat our homes.  Aging windows, leaky ductwork and inefficient heaters can cause heat to flow out of your home and money to flow out of your wallet.  Your Grays Harbor PUD has incentives available to help you save energy and reduce heating costs.

The PUD Energy Services Department has all the information you need on rebates available for your heating system and weatherization projects.  Improvements to your home, such as duct sealing, insulation, new windows, energy efficient heat pumps and programmable thermostats, can lower your electric bill and make your home more comfortable. Not to mention, rebates help lower the cost of the project.

It is important to note that a preliminary audit of the home is required before moving ahead with the projects.  In addition, rebate applications and contractor bids need to be submitted PRIOR to any work being done.  To qualify for rebates, the primary source of heat in your home must be electric.

For more information and to schedule your energy audit, give Energy Services  a call at 360-538-6383.  As the temperature drops you want to keep your home warm.  Your Grays Harbor PUD is here to help you do it efficiently.


The transport of thousands of tons of paper production byproduct has begun at the Harbor Paper mill site.  In the past month, drivers have hauled more than 6000 tons of grate ash, sand ash and secondary sludge from the Hoquiam mill site to various disposal sites in Western Washington.

The question of how to responsibly dispose of the material while having the smallest possible impact on PUD customers has been the chief concern of PUD management and the PUD Special Projects Manager.  The solution is to find disposal sites closest to Grays Harbor (thereby lowering the cost to transport the material) and find alternatives to dumping the material in landfills (thereby avoiding expensive tipping fees).  For example:

  • Sand ash is a Washington State Department of Agriculture registered fertilizer, meaning it can be used for large scale landscaping projects.  Several tons of the ash have already been shipped to sites in and around Grays Harbor and Special Projects Manager John Pellegrini is actively seeking more customers.
  • Grate ash is being disposed of by PUD-hired drivers and rented trucks  at the Stafford Creek Landfill south of Aberdeen.  The short distance of travel between the mill site and the landfill means lower transport costs and more loads being shipped per day.
  • Secondary sludge is being transported by PUD-hired drivers and rented trucks to the Cowlitz County Landfill, the closest landfill licensed to receive the material.  The sludge is the solid waste remaining in the clarifiers after the treatment of wastewater.  The self hauling of the sludge is expected to save the PUD and its customers nearly $1 million.

In addition to those cost saving measures, the PUD was able to save money by:

  • Contracting with Hero Demolition to demolish and dispose of the wastewater treatment facility at no cost, in exchange for the rights to all salvageable material.
  • Reaching an agreement with the City of Aberdeen to take possession of all remaining concrete rubble for use on city street and construction projects.
  • Contracting with the City of Hoquiam to pump over 28 million gallons of treated wastewater into the city’s sewage treatment system.

While a final cost of the Harbor Paper clean-up has yet to be determined, these cost saving measures have cut an estimated $6-million from the initial clean up estimate of $10-million.  PUD activity at the mill site should be complete by the end of 2015.


On Tuesday, Oct. 7, Daily World reporter Corey Morris published this article on the Grays Harbor PUD’s ongoing efforts to complete the clean-up of their portion of the Harbor Paper mill site.  To read the article, the click the following link:

Mill cleanup underway, costs lower than expected

Above: A front end loader works on the Harbor Paper ash pile.