The Grays Harbor PUD Board of Commissioners have approved an increase in customer rates. The 1.5% increase will go into effect on August 1.

The increase was approved in December as part of the 2014 budget. However, the commissioners agreed to postpone a portion of the increase to help move the District away from winter increases to the summer when bills are lower and household expenses are not as high.

“We understand that when bills go up it has a big impact on customers,” said Commission President Russ Skolrood. “For that reason, we delayed a portion of this increase until August 1st, when electricity bills are not as high. The extra time also gave our staff a chance to make some adjustments and reduce the size of the increase.”

The PUD had expected an increase of 1.75%, however those adjustments allowed the increase to be lowered by a quarter-percent. The need for the increase is driven by rising operational costs, especially an increase in power costs from the Bonneville Power Administration.
 

The Grays Harbor PUD Board of Commissioners will consider an increase in customer rates at their regularly scheduled meeting on July 21, 2014. The 1.5% increase will go into effect on August 1.

The need for the increase is driven by rising operational costs, especially an increase in power costs from the Bonneville Power Administration . The PUD had expected an increase of 1.75%, however budget adjustments allowed the increase to be lowered by a quarter-percent.

“I really appreciate the work put in by the staff to make this increase as small as possible. Thanks to some pencil sharpening, we were able to find a little room to ease the impact on our customers,” said Board of Commissioners President Russ Skolrood. “Providing safe and reliable power to our customers is the most important job we have. It’s our responsibility to do it at the lowest practical cost.”

The change is part of an increase approved last December as part of the 2014 budget. However, the commissioners agreed to postpone a portion of the increase to help move the District away from winter increases to a time when bills are lower and household expenses are not as high.
 

The Grays Harbor Public Utility District has announced a planned power outage which will impact PUD customers in the Cedarville-Oakville area of East Grays Harbor County. The outage will begin at 6:00 PM on July 24, 2014 and is expected to last until 6:00 AM on July 25.

During the outage, multiple PUD crews will undertake maintenance work on transmission lines, including the replacement of several deteriorating power poles.

The outage will impact over 1600 Grays Harbor PUD customers, including those on SR 12 from Porter, east to the Grays Harbor-Thurston County line, including all residents of Porter and Oakville. The outage will also impact all PUD customers on the South Bank Road south of the 200 block, the Dunlap Road, Elma Gate Road, all homes on and roads served by the Capital Ridge, Garrard Creek and Delezene Roads and residents of the Chehalis Reservation west of Anderson Road.

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 twelve 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. 

An examination by the Washington State Auditor has produced a 14th consecutive clean audit for the Grays Harbor PUD.

 In the Exit Conference held on Monday, representatives of the Washington State Auditor's office reported that the "District's internal controls were adequate to safeguard public assets." The report also found that the District has complied with state laws and regulations and its own policies and procedures.

"This report is the result of the excellent work of every person who works for the Grays Harbor PUD," said Commission Board President Russ Skolrood. "Our customers expect and deserve a well-run and responsible Public Utility District and this report is evidence that we continue to provide that to them."

The PUD is audited by the state annually. The 2014 examination covered Jan. 1, 2013 to Dec. 31, 2013 and examined the following areas:

Open public meetings

  • Utility account adjustments
  • General revenue/expenses
  • Procurement
  • Key system controls
  • General disbursements
  • On-call contracting
  • Discount program
  • Bond covenants
  • Payroll

The audit report also credited the PUD for its record of clean audit reports, saying "they reflect the District's commitment to maintain a strong financial system with sufficient internal controls."

The Grays Harbor PUD has approved a contract which will allow for the demolition of the Harbor Paper waste water treatment facility at no cost to the District or its customers.

On Tuesday, the PUD approved a contract with Hero Demolition LLC for the demolition and removal of the buildings and equipment that make-up the facilities wastewater treatment plant. The contract will allow Hero Demolition to take possession of and remove all salvageable materials in lieu of payment.

 “I am thrilled that we were able to reach this agreement,” said Commission President Russ Skolrood. “This contract will allow the PUD to continue to meet its obligation to clean this portion of the Harbor Paper site and to do it without absorbing costs which could impact our customers.”

The demolition work will include the removal of all the wastewater treatment facilities buildings and structures, including the primary clarifier, three secondary clarifiers, solids pumping station building, secondary treatment pump house, and the aeration blower building. The company will also remove all mechanical equipment, piping, electrical, roofing, siding, and wood materials.

Under its agreement with Rayonier Properties, LLC, the PUD is obligated to clean and remove the facility’s water treatment system and remove solid byproducts including piles of bark/rock mixture, sand ash and boiler grate material. PUD staff is working to fulfill those responsibilities in a way that meets their obligations while having the least possible impact on the PUD’s customers.