02/09/16 Grant PUD Commissioners welcome Nordt as new general manager

EPHRATA, Wash.— Grant PUD Commissioners announced the appointment of former Chief Financial Officer Kevin Nordt as the new general manager effective June 3, 2016 during their normal business meeting today. Nordt joined Grant PUD in 2004 and brings more than 25 years of experience to the position.

The appointment by Commissioners follows a succession plan submitted by former General Manager Tony Webb in January. Webb will continue with the utility in a senior leadership capacity and assist with the transition over the coming months.

“The utility is in a strong position today and, with Kevin in the GM role, we are going to grow even stronger,” said Commission President Tom Flint. “Our current position reinforces that the timing is right for the utility to transition to a new leader. We have accomplished incredible things in the past few years under Tony’s outstanding leadership and I am confident that Kevin will continue to build on that momentum.”

“This is a definite change in positions but not a change in direction of the utility,” shared Nordt. “Tony and I have been in sync with the direction the utility needs to head all along. We have accomplished great things over these past few years in spite of incredible odds. I respect the direction Tony has taken the utility and am grateful to have him on the Grant PUD team.”

Prior to his appointment as general manager, Nordt served as the CFO, and was the director of power management at Grant PUD.  He has a bachelor of science degree in mathematical physics from St. John’s University, a master of science degree in nuclear engineering and engineering physics from the University of Wisconsin and additional graduate work in computational finance at Oregon Graduate Institute. Prior to working at Grant PUD he worked with regional utilities including Portland General Electric and Energy Northwest.

 

MEDIA CONTACT(S):

Thomas Stredwick / Chuck Allen
(509) 754-5035 / publicaffairs@gcpud.org

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No ifs, ands or nuts – squirrels are a growing cause of Grant PUD outages

By Laine Barth, Grant PUD intern

That cute, little squirrel running around the neighborhood might seem harmless, but increasingly these invasive animals are the cause of two mayor annoyances in Grant County, power and fiber-optic outages.

Squirrels love to gnaw through the insulation on power lines, climb power poles

and burrow into substations. Sometimes when this happens, they unfortunately, complete an electrical circuit or chew through a fiber-optic strand and leave many without power or Internet service. Each month, squirrels cause about five power outages and even more fiber connection outages to customers in Grant County, said Chris Heimbigner Grant PUD Line Crew Superintendent.

“Each time there is an outage, it is very expensive to the operation of the utility” says Grant PUD Fiber Specialist, Russ Brethower. “Anything we can do to prevent squirrel-related outages is good for everyone.”

Squirrels can jump up to 10 feet from one object to the next and will chew through wire insulation, wood and fiberglass siding and damage anything from power lines, to wires for fiber, telephone, cable and satellite television. Thankfully, there are ways to prevent squirrels from making a home on our properties.

By trimming trees and tall shrubs, squirrels will have a harder time getting onto power lines and wires. Sealing garbage cans, letting the family dog spend some time outside and not leaving any domestic pet food out at night will all help in preventing a squirrel’s attraction to your home. If you have a birdfeeder, make sure it’s a squirrel-proof feeder or add a squirrel collar to your current feeder and keep it at the edge of your property.

Some other tips include inspecting your home for entry holes and sealing them with steel mesh, which the squirrel cannot chew through. Putting “Sniff-n-Stop” deterrent on external wires is another effective option that will not harm the squirrel but will keep them away from wires.

Squirrels are considered cute and lovable, so it may be tempting to invite them onto your property, but it’s important to remember that this invasive species is crowding out native wildlife and can cause thousands of dollars in damage to power and fiber equipment on your property, as well as structural harm. It would be nuts to keep them hanging around.

Posted in Community, Fish and Wildlife, Outages, Press Releases | Leave a comment

Grant PUD announces potential leadership changes

January 12, 2016

 Grant PUD announces potential leadership changes

General manager outlines transition plan for new leader

EPHRATA, Wash.— On January 12, Tony Webb announced a succession plan to Grant PUD commissioners which outlines his transition out of the General Manager role.

Per the proposed plan, Webb recommended that current Chief Financial Officer, Kevin Nordt assume the General Manager position effective June 2016. The succession plan fulfills a longstanding request by the board to ensure a seamless transition in anticipation of Webb’s eventual retirement from the utility. After Nordt assumes the position of general manager, Webb will continue to serve in a senior leadership capacity.

Tony Webb was appointed as General Manager in 2013 after serving in various leadership roles within the utility since 1990.

“I want to make sure that I leave this place in good hands,” said Webb. “The board has always wanted assurance that there would be strong leadership in place when I leave and I believe Kevin has the experience and abilities necessary to lead. I think this is an example of proactive succession planning which is critical to maintaining the continuity of operations here at Grant PUD.”

A resolution regarding the proposed succession plan will be reviewed by commissioners at their January 26 meeting before any formal action can be taken.

Kevin Nordt has over two decades of experience in the Northwest energy industry and has held various leadership roles within Grant PUD since his arrival to the utility in 2004.

 

MEDIA CONTACT(S):

Thomas Stredwick/ Chuck Allen

(509) 754-5035 / publicaffairs@gcpud.org

 

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Grant PUD wireless network expands to two locations

Network service now available to more than 400 customers

EPHRATA, Wash.— Customers in the McConihe Flats area northwest of Moses Lake near Highway 17 and near Priest Rapids Dam can now subscribe to Grant PUD’s High Speed Wireless Network.

Customers in both locations have asked the PUD for the High Speed Network wireless service. Their request has been fulfilled with the installation of network hubs that are now capable of providing fast, reliable Internet service to their homes and businesses. The McConihe Flats hub can reach 376 potential subscribers and the Priest Rapids hub about 30. They are the sixth and seventh locations to be served by Grant PUD’s wireless network, joining Quincy, Ephrata and Blue Lake, the Larson area of Moses Lake and another location southeast of Moses Lake. This technology provides reliable, continuous network service of at least 7 megabits per second.

Customers can subscribe to the service by contacting one of the nine wireless Internet service providers listed at grantpud.org and asking to be connected to Grant PUD’s wireless network.

Grant PUD is building out wireless service to fulfill the demands of customers in rural locations who have asked for the rapid deployment of a reliable and fast network. The utility is conducting a survey of customers in rural areas of the county to prioritize where it will deploy new locations for the wireless service.

For more information on Grant PUD’s wireless network and a list of participating Internet service providers, visit http://grantpud.org/customer-service/high-speed-network.

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Commissioner Larry Schaapman recognized as WPUDA Good Samaritan

For action preventing spread of July 5 wildfire

EPHRATA, Wash.— Grant PUD Commissioner Larry Schaapman, of Quincy, was presented on Dec. 3 the Washington PUD Association’s Good Samaritan Award for his actions in helping to prevent the spread of a wildfire threatening his neighbors this past summer.

In the early hours of July 5, Schaapman, who is farmer in the Quincy Valley, saw that a fast-moving wildfire, whipped by strong winds, was threatening homes and property of his neighbors. Schaapman quickly hooked up a disc implement to one of his tractors parked near his home and began plowing a fire break to help successfully contain the flames. His quick thinking and determination was credited by firefighters for helping to protect the lives and property of his neighbors.

Schaapman’s award was presented to him during WPUDA’s annual meeting in SeaTac on Dec. 3. The Good Samaritan Award is given annually to PUD officials and employees who demonstrate meritorious action in a life-threatening situation.

Schaapman has served as the commissioner for Grant PUD District No. 3 since 2012. His district includes the communities of Quincy, George, Royal City and Mattawa, as well as their outlying areas.

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Grant PUD commissioners set budget and electric prices for 2016

Average residential bill to increase $1.50 a month

EPHRATA, Wash. – Grant PUD Commissioners have adopted a $257.5 million budget and also set electric prices for all customer groups in 2016.

The 2016 budget, adopted on Nov. 10, allows Grant PUD customers to continue enjoying some of the most affordable energy in the nation. The budget has $7.5 million less in expenditures than the prior year.

The budget calls for a 2 percent revenue increase from local (retail) customers. The chart below, which was adopted by the commission on Nov. 24, outlines the increase for each type of customer. The allocations take into consideration the utility’s cost of serving each customer group. The average residential household is expected to see about $1.50 per month more on their electric bill (assuming 1,800 kWh).

The 2 percent revenue increase continues the utility’s strategy of small, predictable increases, which began in 2014. This long-term strategy has helped the utility keep up with rising costs and maintain financial targets while also avoiding larger price increases. A recent survey of Grant PUD customers showed that most favor seeing small, predictable increases with low percentages phased in over a number of years.

“We have a budget that allows us to provide excellent service to our customers while also fulfilling our obligations to present and future generations,” said General Manager Tony Webb. “We have challenged staff to continue to find ways to increase value while holding the line on expenses. This budget achieves both of those goals.”

Significant items in the budget include:

  • Generator replacements at Wanapum Dam
  • Turbine and Generator replacement work beginning at Priest Rapids Dam
  • Recreation improvement projects
  • On-going electric-system reliability improvements
  • Work to enhance fish passage on the Columbia River

The adopted price increases for each customer class are as follows:

 

Residential (Rate schedule 1) 1.6%
General Service (Rate Schedule 2) 3.5%
Irrigation (Rate Schedule 3) 3.3%
Streetlights (Rate Schedule 6) 0.5%
Large General (Rate Schedule 7) 1.8%
Industrial (Rate Schedule 14) 4.9%
Large Industrial (Rate Schedule 15) 0.5%
Ag Food Processing (Rate Schedule 16) 4.3%
Ag Food Processing Boiler (Rate Schedule 85) 5.0%

 

For more information visit: grantpud.org.

#                                                          #

Established by local residents over 75 years ago, Grant PUD generates and delivers energy to millions of customers throughout the Pacific Northwest. What began as a grassroots movement of public power has evolved into one of the premiere providers of renewable energy at some of the most affordable rates in the nation. For more information visit www.grantpud.org or follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

MEDIA CONTACT(S):

Thomas Stredwick or Chuck Allen

(509) 754-5035 / publicaffairs@gcpud.org

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New Grant PUD visitor center to open Dec. 1

Grand opening for facility, located near Wanapum Dam, is Dec. 1 at 10 a.m.

BEVERLY, Wash. — The grand opening for The Power of the Columbia River, Grant PUD’s new visitor center is Tuesday, Dec. 1 at 10 a.m. Following a ribbon-cutting ceremony, the center will be open to the public with new displays that highlight the balancing act between hydropower, fish passage, recreation, and natural resource management.

Located adjacent to Wanapum Dam, about seven miles south of the Vantage Bridge, The Power of the Columbia River provides an opportunity for visitors of all ages to experience firsthand how Grant PUD operates its dams on the Columbia.

There are many interactive exhibits within the 2,000 square foot facility that allow visitors to travel through time as they see how the Columbia River shaped Grant County. A theater features several videos that describe how the Columbia Basin was formed and how Wanapum Dam works. Visitors will also generate their own electricity, learn about fish in the river, as well as where to enjoy recreation along the Columbia River.

“We want this to be a center where schools, families and members of the community can visit and use as an educational resource,” said Grant PUD Commission President Dale Walker.

The visitor center will be open from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., Monday through Friday in October through April and open daily (including Saturday, Sunday and holidays) in May through September. The Power of the Columbia River is located south of Interstate 90 on Highway 243. Once on Highway 243, head south and follow the highway for approximately 4 miles and then turn onto Wanapum Dam Road. Admission is free. The center is a component of Grant PUD’s federal license requirements to provide educational opportunities and access to customers.

#                                                          #

Established by local residents over 75 years ago, Grant PUD generates and delivers energy to millions of customers throughout the Pacific Northwest. What began as a grassroots movement of public power has evolved into one of the premiere providers of renewable energy at some of the most affordable rates in the nation. For more information visit www.grantpud.org or follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

MEDIA CONTACT(S):

Chuck Allen

(509) 754-5035 / publicaffairs@gcpud.org

Thomas Stredwick

(509) 754-5035 / publicaffairs@gcpud.org

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Three PUD employees remain at Harborview Medical Center

October 12, 2015

Three PUD employees remain at Harborview Medical Center

EPHRATA, Wash. —   Three employees remain at Harborview Medical Center in Seattle following last week’s accident at Grant PUD’s Priest Rapids Dam which hospitalized six power-plant electricians and operators.

Over the past weekend, two employees were discharged, one remains in satisfactory condition, one remains in critical condition, and one has improved to serious condition.

“I can think of nothing worse than one of our employees not returning home to see their family at the end of a workday. We continue to rally around these employees and their families to provide whatever support we can,” said Grant PUD General Manager Tony Webb.

A support fund has been established at Granco Federal Credit Union in Ephrata, Washington for the injured employees and their families. Those interested in making a contribution can do so by sending a donation to Granco Credit Union at: PO Box 127 Ephrata, WA 98823 or in person at their Ephrata location: 217 Alder St. SW Ephrata WA 98823. All donations should be earmarked “Priest Rapids Family Fund.”

Inspectors from the Washington Department of Labor and Industries were on site last week to begin what will likely be weeks of investigation into the cause of an electrical equipment failure in the Priest Rapids Dam power plant. The equipment failure was isolated to one of ten generating units at the dam. The main circuit breaker, which acts as an on-off switch for the generating unit, malfunctioned, causing the employees to be injured. The generating unit will not operate again until the investigation is finished.

The dam is stable and remains in operating condition. There are no associated public safety issues or downstream flooding impacts. The results of the investigation will be provided to commissioners upon completion.

Additional informational updates related to this incident will be provided during Grant PUD public meetings on the second and fourth Tuesdays of the month.

 

HARBORVIEW MEDICAL CENTER MEDIA CONTACT:

Susan Gregg

(206) 616-6730

GRANT PUD MEDIA CONTACT(S):

Chuck Allen

(509) 754-5035 / publicaffairs@gcpud.org

Thomas Stredwick

(509) 754-5035 / publicaffairs@gcpud.org

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Support Fund Established at Granco Credit Union

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

October 9, 2015

Support Fund Established at Granco Credit Union

EPHRATA, Wash. —   A support fund has been established at Granco in Ephrata, Washington for injured employees and their families resulting from recent events at Priest Rapids Dam. All needs are being covered by Grant PUD including: lodging, transportation, meals, etc. This support fund will be made available to injured employees and their family members for any remaining assistance beyond what the PUD is providing.

 

Those interested in making a contribution can do so by sending a donation to Granco Credit Union at: PO Box 127 Ephrata, Washington 98823 or in person at their Ephrata location: 217 Alder St. SW Ephrata Washington 98823. All donations should be earmarked “Priest Rapids Family Fund”.

 

The outpouring of support from throughout the region during this challenging time is appreciated and felt by all those within the Grant PUD family.

#                                                          #

Established by local residents over 75 years ago, Grant PUD generates and delivers energy to millions of customers throughout the Pacific Northwest. What began as a grassroots movement of public power has evolved into one of the premiere providers of renewable energy at some of the most affordable rates in the nation. For more information visit www.grantpud.org or follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

 

 

HARBORVIEW MEDICAL CENTER MEDIA CONTACT:

Susan Gregg

(206) 616-6730

GRANT PUD MEDIA CONTACT(S):

Chuck Allen

(509) 754-5035 / publicaffairs@gcpud.org

Thomas Stredwick

(509) 754-5035 / publicaffairs@gcpud.org

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Update on Priest Rapids Dam Electrical Equipment Failure

EPHRATA, Wash. —   On Thursday Oct. 8, an electrical equipment failure was reported in the powerhouse at Grant PUD’s Priest Rapids Dam. As a result of the equipment failure, six employees sustained various levels of injury. As of 8 a.m. Oct. 9, one of the six injured has been released from the hospital and the remaining five are at Harborview Medical Center in Seattle being treated for burns. Two of the five are in critical condition and the remaining three are in satisfactory condition. Updates on their medical status will be provided by Harborview Medical Center.

The employees are power plant electricians and operators. In order to protect the privacy of employees and their families, we will not release their names, age, gender or other personal details.

“This is a difficult day for everyone here at Grant PUD. We are all concerned for our co-workers who were injured yesterday and are doing everything we can to show them our support in this difficult time. Our primary focus will continue to be taking care of our people,” said CFO and Acting General Manager Kevin Nordt.

The electrical equipment failure was isolated to one of the ten generating units at the dam. The dam remains in stable, operating condition. There are no associated public safety issues or downstream flooding impacts.

Investigators from Labor and Industries will be on site today to perform a thorough evaluation of events leading up to and causing the incident. Results of the investigation will likely take weeks.

#                                                          #

Established by local residents over 75 years ago, Grant PUD generates and delivers energy to millions of customers throughout the Pacific Northwest. What began as a grassroots movement of public power has evolved into one of the premiere providers of renewable energy at some of the most affordable rates in the nation. For more information visit www.grantpud.org or follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

HARBORVIEW MEDICAL CENTER MEDIA CONTACTS:

Susan Gregg
(206) 616-6730

GRANT PUD MEDIA CONTACT(S):

Chuck Allen
(509) 754-5035 / publicaffairs@gcpud.org

Thomas Stredwick
(509) 754-5035 / publicaffairs@gcpud.org

 

Posted in Community, Employees, Press Releases | Leave a comment

Employees injured during explosion at Priest Rapids Dam

October 8, 2015

EPHRATA, Wash. —  (Updated with new information at 7:00 p.m.) At approximately 4:15 p.m. today an explosion was reported at Priest Rapids Dam along the Columbia River. At this point there are six confirmed employees with various levels of injury that have been taken to regional medical facilities via airlift or ground ambulance. All six employee families have been notified. The extent of their injuries is unknown at this time.

The cause of the explosion is attributed to electrical equipment and the hydroelectric facility remains stable. There are no imminent public safety or downstream flooding risks associated with this incident.  Additional informational updates will be made available tomorrow when new details are known.

MEDIA CONTACT(S):

Chuck Allen

(509) 754-5035 / publicaffairs@gcpud.org

Thomas Stredwick

(509) 754-5035 / publicaffairs@gcpud.org

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New Wanapum Heritage Center to open on Oct. 15

Grand opening for facility, located near Priest Rapids Dam, is Oct. 15 at 10 a.m.

 MATTAWA, Wash.— The grand opening for the new Wanapum Heritage Center, located near Priest Rapids Dam, is Thursday, Oct. 15 at 10 a.m. Following a ribbon-cutting ceremony, the center will open to the public with all-new exhibits and displays to demonstrate the Wanapum culture and history.

Located on the ancestral grounds of the indigenous Wanapum Band of the Priest Rapids, the 50,000 square-foot facility is a key element to protecting, preserving and perpetuating the culture, traditions and identity of the Wanapum people. The center features artifacts, exhibits, artwork and thematic elements that illustrate the culture and history of the Wanapum. There are many permanent displays as well as room for temporary exhibits and collections. There is also working space that will be used by the Wanapum to preserve their culture, language and traditions for future generations.

The heritage center is owned by Grant PUD, but will be operated by the Wanapum band from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday and 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday. The facility is an important resource for maintaining Grant PUD’s relationship with the Wanapum and fulfilling the PUD’s value of protecting the heritage of the Wanapum.

The site is located about five miles south of Mattawa at 29082 Highway 243 S, Mattawa WA 99349. Admission is free.

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Grant PUD wireless network expands southeast of Moses Lake

Grant PUD wireless network expands southeast of Moses Lake
Expansion will serve more than 350 customers

EPHRATA, Wash.— More than 350 customers in a three-mile radius southeast of Moses Lake near I-90 and Highway 17 can now subscribe to Grant PUD’s High Speed Wireless Network.

Customers in the location have asked the PUD for the High Speed Network wireless service. Their request has been fulfilled with the installation of a network hub that is now capable of providing fast, reliable Internet service to their homes and businesses. The southeast Moses Lake area is the fifth location to be served by Grant PUD’s wireless network, joining Quincy, Ephrata and Blue Lake and the Larson area of Moses Lake. This technology provides reliable, continuous network service of at least 7 megabits per second.

Customers can subscribe to the service by contacting one of the nine wireless Internet service providers listed at grantpud.org and asking to be connected to Grant PUD’s wireless network.

Grant PUD is building out wireless service to fulfill the demands of customers in rural locations who have asked for the rapid deployment of a reliable and fast network. The utility is conducting a survey of customers in rural areas of the county to prioritize where it will deploy new locations for the wireless service.

For more information on Grant PUD’s wireless network and a list of participating Internet service providers, visit http://grantpud.org/customer-service/high-speed-network.

#                                                          #

Established by local residents over 75 years ago, Grant PUD generates and delivers energy to millions of customers throughout the Pacific Northwest. What began as a grassroots movement of public power has evolved into one of the premiere providers of renewable energy at some of the most affordable rates in the nation. For more information visit www.grantpud.org or follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

MEDIA CONTACT(S):

Chuck Allen

(509) 754-5035 / publicaffairs@gcpud.org

Posted in Broadband, Community, Press Releases | Leave a comment

I got caught…wearing my life jacket

EPHRATA, Wash.— Grant PUD is working to promote child safety on the Columbia River this recreational season.

In an attempt to prevent accidents on the water, Grant PUD is providing Grant and Kittitas County marine patrols with “I Got Caught wearing my life jacket” shirts and footballs to hand out to children who are wearing their life jackets.

This campaign is Grant PUD’s way of congratulating children and parents who stay safe while recreating. “This is all part of our Strategic Plan. Our number one goal is to promote public safety on the water” said Jerri Mickle, Parks and Recreation Supervisor at Grant PUD.

In year’s past, Grant PUD has done a “Wear it” campaign, “Kids don’t float” campaign and even worked with local businesses to raise money to purchase life jackets to have at recreation sites for the public to use. Today, they continue to work to keep the river drown-free by having life jackets available for the public to use at recreational sites and acknowledge those who are using them.

Most drowning deaths are preventable if a life jacket is worn. Last year, 418 people drowned in United States, 337 of them weren’t wearing a life jacket (according to the US Coast Guard). Enjoy the water, take a dip in the river, but please wear your life jacket.

For more information and other safety tips, visit grantpud.org/community/safety/on-the-water

MEDIA CONTACT(S):

Laine Barth
(509) 764-0500 ext. 2233 / publicaffairs@gcpud.org

Chuck Allen
(509) 754-5035 / publicaffairs@gcpud.org

Posted in Community, Community Service, Employees, Natural Resources, Press Releases, Recreation, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Grant PUD to conduct wireless network survey

Utility sending mail survey to 10,000 potential wireless subscribers

EPHRATA, Wash. — Grant PUD will begin conducting a survey of potential wireless network customers in Grant County this month. Those who receive the survey, which is being mailed to about 10,000 customers in proposed wireless locations, are asked to fill out a postage-paid postcard and return it to Grant PUD.

The survey informs the customers of Grant PUD’s plan to expand its wireless Internet network to rural parts of the county. The survey then asks customers how they are currently connecting to the Internet as well as their interest in subscribing to the PUD’s network, which promises a reliable, continuous connection of at least 7 megabits per second.

The utility will use the information from the survey to determine when and where it will deploy the wireless network going forward. Grant PUD is developing plans to provide a countywide Internet network within the next three years and the results of the survey will help the utility prioritize locations for network service expansion.

Customers who would rather answer the survey questions by e-mail are asked to send their replies to publicaffairs@gcpud.org or call (509) 754-0500 during normal business hours.

For more information on Grant PUD’s wireless network and a list of participating Internet service providers, visit http://grantpud.org/customer-service/high-speed-network.

#                                                          #

Established by local residents over 75 years ago, Grant PUD generates and delivers energy to millions of customers throughout the Pacific Northwest. What began as a grassroots movement of public power has evolved into one of the premiere providers of renewable energy at some of the most affordable rates in the nation. For more information visit www.grantpud.org or follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

MEDIA CONTACT(S):
Chuck Allen
(509) 754-5035 / publicaffairs@gcpud.org

Posted in Broadband, Community, Press Releases | Leave a comment

Grant PUD approves settlement to end Crescent Bar legal dispute

Commissioners vote to approve final settlement agreement with leaseholders

EPHRATA, Wash.— Grant PUD commissioners voted Tuesday, July 28 during their regular meeting to approve a final settlement document that will end a legal dispute with Crescent Bar leaseholders. Defendants Grant PUD and plaintiffs Crescent Bar leaseholders reached a preliminary agreement to settle the lawsuit on April 14.

The Crescent Bar leaseholders filed the lawsuit in 2011 following Grant PUD’s announcement that it would not allow private residences on the island after the utility’s lease with the Port of Quincy was set to expire in 2012. During the course of the litigation, Judge Justin L. Quackenbush encouraged both parties to avoid a potentially lengthy and costly trial by seeking mediation to resolve the differences. Both parties began discussions to settle the lawsuit in 2014.

Under terms of the settlement, access to 80 percent of the Crescent Bar area previously under lease will be fully available to the public. The residents will be allowed to remain on the island through at least 2047 under a new lease agreement. They will be required to pay fair-market rent to Grant PUD retroactive to 2012 and will also pay their share of needed capital upgrades for wastewater treatment and fire-safety infrastructure.

During the July 28 meeting, Grant PUD commissioners also approved a recreation plan for the island that includes keeping the existing golf course, as well as developing 55 public RV campsites, an enhanced on-island boat launch, moorage, day-use picnic area, swim beach, walking trail, public parking and concessions.

#                                                          #

Established by local residents over 75 years ago, Grant PUD generates and delivers energy to millions of customers throughout the Pacific Northwest. What began as a grassroots movement of public power has evolved into one of the premiere providers of renewable energy at some of the most affordable rates in the nation. For more information visit www.grantpud.org or follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

MEDIA CONTACT(S):

Chuck Allen

(509) 754-5035 / publicaffairs@gcpud.org

Posted in Community, Natural Resources, Press Releases, Recreation | Leave a comment

Grant PUD’s summer library tour starts July 13

Learn how Grant PUD sends energy to your home during its summer library tour. During the free presentations at Grant County’s public libraries, you’ll learn how Grant PUD takes advantage of the water cycle to generate electricity and deliver it to your home. There will also be plenty of fun, hands-on activites.

See the schedule below:

Moses Lake Public Library – July 13, 11:30 a.m.

George Public Library – July 13, 1:30 p.m.

Grand Coulee Public Library – July 15, 10:30 a.m.

Coulee City Public Library – July 15, 1 p.m.

Ephrata Public Library – July 16, 10:30 a.m.

Soap Lake Public Library – July 16, 1 p.m.

Warden Public Library – July 20, 2 p.m.

Mattawa Public Library – July 21, 10:30 a.m.

Royal City Public Library – July 21, 1 p.m.

Quincy Public Library – July 23, 10:30 a.m.

Posted in Community, Community Service, Press Releases | Leave a comment

Blue Lake and Sun Lakes areas now benefit from Grant PUD wireless network

Expansion will serve more than 150 customers

EPHRATA, Wash.— The Blue Lake and Sun Lakes areas can now enjoy the benefits of Grant PUD’s High Speed Wireless Network.

More than 150 Grant PUD customers in the Blue Lake/Sun Lakes region presented the utility with a petition last year requesting network services. Their request has been fulfilled with the installation of two network hubs that are now capable of providing fast, reliable Internet service to their homes and businesses. The Blue Lake-Sun Lakes area is the fourth location to be served by Grant PUD’s wireless network, joining Quincy, Ephrata and Moses Lake. This technology provides continuous network service of at least 7 megabits per second.

Customers can subscribe to the service by contacting one of the nine wireless Internet service providers listed at grantpud.org and asking to be connected to Grant PUD’s wireless network.

Grant PUD is building out wireless service to fulfill the demands of customers in rural locations who have asked for the rapid deployment of a reliable and fast network. By expanding its wireless network, Grant PUD’s goal is to provide services that will reach 98 percent of the county’s population by 2018. The utility plans to continue its expansion throughout this year in other parts of the county.

For more information on Grant PUD’s wireless network and a list of participating Internet service providers, visit http://grantpud.org/customer-service/high-speed-network.

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Grant PUD expands wireless network to Larson area

EPHRATA, Wash.— The Larson wireless hub, which is part of Grant PUD’s High Speed Network, became available to 438 potential subscribers northwest of Moses Lake this week.

The Larson area is the third location to be served by Grant PUD’s wireless network. It joins hubs in Quincy and Ephrata that are now providing continuous 7 megabit network service to subscribers in those locations.

Customers can subscribe to the service by contacting one of nine participating Internet service providers and asking to be connected to Grant PUD’s wireless network. A list of the service providers is found at grantpud.org.

Grant PUD is building out wireless service to fulfill the demands of customers in rural locations who have asked for the rapid deployment of a reliable and fast network. By expanding its wireless network, Grant PUD’s goal is to provide network services that will cover 98 percent of the county’s population by 2018. The utility plans to bring wireless hubs online this summer in the Blue Lake area and rural southeast Moses Lake.

For more information on Grant PUD’s wireless network and a list of participating Internet service providers, visit http://grantpud.org/customer-service/high-speed-network.

Posted in Broadband, Community, Community Service, Press Releases | Leave a comment

Grant PUD ready for summer recreation on Wanapum Reservoir

Renovation work on boat launches and camp sites complete

EPHRATA, Wash.— Grant PUD has completed several renovation projects to enhance public recreation on the Wanapum Reservoir. The work includes extending boat launches, improving campsites, enhancing day-use facilities, and increasing amenities and accessibility to the reservoir for all.

The enhanced recreation sites now open to the public include:

  • Crescent Bar Boat Launch – This facility at the popular recreation area has a new deeper and wider boating channel and an extended launch pad.
  • Frenchman Coulee Boat Launch – The boat launch at the end of the old Vantage Highway features a new deeper and wider boating channel, extended launch and new boarding float and improved amenities, including a one-mile shoreline trail, picnic area and vault toilet.
  • Rattlesnake Cove Day Use Area – This recreation site south of Sunland has a picnic area, vault toilet, parking area and swim beach.
  • Rocky Coulee Recreation Area – This campsite and day use area near Vantage has 10 walk-in tent campsites ($10 a night, drop-in), picnic areas, vault toilets and a hand boat launch.
  • Sand Hollow Recreation Area – Has 40 campsites ($15 a night, reservations taken online) on the Wanapum Reservoir near the junction of highways 26 and 243. Amenities include a picnic areas, swim beach, and double vault toilets.
  • Vantage Boat Launch – Just off I-90 in Vantage, this recreation site as a new deeper and wider boating channel, extended launch and new boarding float and improved amenities, including picnic area and restrooms.

Much of the work on these recreation sites was accelerated during last year’s drawdown of the Wanapum Reservoir, which was in response to the Wanapum Dam spillway. By accelerating the work during dry conditions, Grant PUD was able to reduce impacts to the environment and ensure that the projects would be completed by the start of the summer recreation season.

Another way that Grant PUD is highlighting the start of the recreation season is with a Sunglass Selfie photo contest. This contest will be all online and submissions can be posted on the Grant PUD Facebook and Twitter pages. The contest starts May 22 and will end after Labor Day on September 8.

Participants are encouraged to wear sunglasses with the Grant PUD logo on them for the photo contest. Participants can find these sunglasses at Grant PUD offices.

Some of the basic rules include:

  • Sunglasses must be worn, Grant PUD Sunglasses are preferred
  • Photos or video must have the #sunglassselfie hashtag.
  • Photos and video may be altered and edited (filtered, cropped, etc.)
  • There is no limit to the amount of posts by a person, but your name will only be entered into the drawing once
  • Entries need to be appropriate:
    • Grant PUD will follow the current Facebook guidelines. Grant PUD reserves the right to remove any photo that they feel is not appropriate for the contest
    • A lifejacket needs to be worn if photo is taken on the water

This year’s prize will be a guided boat tour on the Wanapum Reservoir for four people for four hours this fall on an agreed upon date. Winners for the contest will be selected through a random drawing after the contest has closed. For a complete set of rules, see grantpud.org.

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Grant PUD Commissioners approve Crescent Bar settlement

Public asked to provide comment on public recreation plans for Crescent Bar Island.

EPHRATA, Wash.— Grant PUD’s Board of Commissioners voted Tuesday, April 14 to approve an agreement that would settle a federal lawsuit with Crescent Bar Island residents.

Under the agreement, which will be submitted to U.S. District Court Judge Justin Quackenbush for his approval, access to 80 percent of the Crescent Bar area previously under lease will be fully available to the public. The residents will be allowed to remain on the island through at least 2047 under a new lease. They will be required to pay fair-market rent to Grant PUD retroactive to 2012 and will also pay their share of needed capital upgrades for wastewater treatment and fire-safety infrastructure.

Grant PUD staff members are now moving forward to develop plans to enhance recreation on Crescent Bar Island. The plans call for 55 public campsites on the island, an enhanced on-island boat launch, moorage, day-use picnic area, swim beach, walking trail, public parking and concessions. Two plans for recreation on the island are being considered, one with the existing nine-hole golf course and one with the course being converted to expanded day-use picnic areas, parking and trail systems.

The utility is seeking comments from the public about these two options. For information and to comment, visit grantpud.org, call (509) 754-0500 ext. 2191, or mail Grant PUD, Attn: Lands & Recreation, PO Box 878, Ephrata WA 98823. Comments will be taken from May 1 to May 31.

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Grant PUD and Crescent Bar residents reviewing terms of proposed settlement

EPHRATA, Wash.— Grant PUD Commissioners and Crescent Bar Island residents are reviewing the terms of a proposed settlement agreement in relation to their ongoing federal lawsuit.

Pending approval of the agreement by U.S. District Court Judge Justin Quackenbush, the residents will be allowed to remain in their existing residential areas as long as they pay fair-market rent to the utility retroactive to 2012. The terms of the settlement restore public access to 80 percent of what was formerly under lease. Under the agreement, future lease areas will be limited to the residential footprint of the condominiums and the north and south RV parks.

The lease term will coincide with Grant PUD’s federal license to operate the Priest Rapids Project which expires in 2052. However, the utility retains the right to terminate the lease as early as 2047 with five-year’s notice given in 2042. Island residents will pay annual rent, to be determined by two independent third-party appraisals. The residents must also agree to pay their share of needed capital improvement upgrades for wastewater treatment and other fire-safety infrastructure upgrades.

The residents filed the lawsuit in 2011 after Grant PUD announced it would not allow private use of the island after the utility’s lease with the Port of Quincy was set to expire in 2012. During the course of the litigation, U.S. District Court Judge Justin L. Quackenbush encouraged both parties to avoid a potentially lengthy and costly trial by seeking mediation to resolve their differences.

Enhancements to the Crescent Bar area could begin as early as fourth quarter of 2015 and will include:

  • Renovated two-lane boat launch with a free public parking lot and accessible boarding float
  • New swimming areas and public beaches
  • New walking trail with interpretive signage
  • Restrooms with showers
  • Day-use areas with picnic tables and shelters
  • Overnight camping with fire grills
  • Habitat enhancements

The boards of the three homeowner’s associations representing the residents will review the terms of the proposed settlement agreement this week. Grant PUD’s Board of Commissioners will take formal action on the settlement during their normal business meeting on April 14.

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03/17/2015 Wanapum Reservoir begins final refill

Construction milestone achieved, allowing river levels to increase

EPHRATA, Wash.— After a year of research, construction and collaboration, repairs to the Wanapum Spillway have reached a point that allows Grant PUD to refill the reservoir behind Wanapum Dam back to normal levels.

The refill began March 16, and depending on river flows, the utility expects to be at normal river levels within seven to 14 days.  This is the last major milestone for this project and the reservoir is anticipated be fully restored and functional to pre-existing conditions for public access and utilization.

All Grant PUD boat launches and shorelines, with the exception of those areas under construction, will reopen to the public ahead of schedule. As always, the public is urged to use caution when accessing the reservoir due to fluctuating water levels and heed all shoreline warning signs.

This final refill marks an end to the drawdown, which began back in late February of 2014 when the reservoir behind Wanapum Dam was lowered in response to a fracture found on the dam’s spillway. The repairs bring the spillway structure back into compression and allow continued safe generation of renewable hydroelectricity.

Over the past year the utility has:

  • Mobilized a team of engineering experts from throughout the country to find and fix the problem at Wanapum Dam.
  • Worked with agencies, tribes and local irrigators to expedite surface water intake permits for nearly 1,000 acres of irrigated agriculture.
  • Deployed innovative (and effective) fish-passage solutions that have helped pass a record-breaking 800,000-plus fish above Wanapum Dam.
  • Implemented a security strategy encompassing over 80 miles of shoreline to ensure public safety.
  • Protected cultural resources through a coordinated group comprised of Grant PUD archaeologists, regional tribes and the Washington State Department of Archaeology.
  • Reprioritized work and budgetary adjustments to pay for repairs to Wanapum Dam. This work relieved rate pressure on our 45,000-plus customers.
  • Expedited federally-required improvements to three recreation sites along the river to take advantage of low-water elevations. This resulted in a cost savings and reduced environmental impact.

“I want to thank our customers for their support and patience during one of the greatest challenges we have faced as a utility. We are fortunate to have a top-notch team of employees and contractors that have allowed us to reach this point ahead of schedule,” said General Manager Tony Webb.

For additional information on the Wanapum Dam issue, visit: http://www.grantpud.org/your-pud/media-room/wanapum-dam-spillway-response.

#                                                          #

Established by local residents over 75 years ago, Grant PUD generates and delivers energy to millions of customers throughout the Pacific Northwest. What began as a grassroots movement of public power has evolved into one of the premiere providers of renewable energy at some of the most affordable rates in the nation. For more information visit www.grantpud.org or follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

MEDIA CONTACT(S):

Thomas Stredwick or Chuck Allen

(509) 754-5035 / publicaffairs@gcpud.org

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Grant PUD to expand wireless broadband network to rural customers

Program will bring High Speed Network to rural areas of county

Grant PUD crews install a wireless Internet antenna on a PUD radio tower on Beezley Hill on Jan. 12, 2015.

EPHRATA, Wash.— Grant PUD’s High Speed Network is bringing Internet access to rural areas of Grant County this year.

Using proven wireless broadband technology, the utility will now deploy broadband services to meet demand from rural customers in a more rapid and efficient manner. Providing a sustainable county-wide broadband Internet network connection is one of the goals in Grant PUD’s strategic plan.

For the past 18 months, the utility has conducted a wireless broadband pilot project in the Quincy Valley. Using the network installed by Grant PUD, participating independent Internet service providers are bringing consistent broadband services to their customers in the pilot area.

Building on the strength of the pilot program, Grant PUD will now expand the wireless network into other areas of the county. Initial expansion sites for 2015 include more sections of the Quincy Valley, the Larson area near Moses Lake, rural Ephrata, the Blue Lake area, Beverly, Schwana and Priest Rapids Dam. Other locations for expansion will be determined by customer demand.

The wireless broadband network will provide a 7 megabit-per-second service to accommodate streaming video services. Grant PUD will notify customers when the network is available in their area. To connect to the network, customers will need to contact one of the Internet service providers participating in the wireless broadband program.

For a list of wireless broadband Internet service providers and more information on Grant PUD’s High Speed Network, visit http://grantpud.org/customer-service/high-speed-network.

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Andrew York Memorial Scholarship taking applications

Graduating seniors from any high school in Washington state in 2015 are encouraged to apply for the Andrew York Memorial Scholarship. The scholarship program will distribute a total of $4,500 in scholarships.

To be eligible for the scholarship, students must have been active in school or the community providing awareness to prevent impaired or distracted driving caused by influences such as drug, alcohol, marijuana use or texting while driving.

Applicants must be accepted into an accredited college, university or trade school. Preference is given to applicants who are active members of IBEW Local 77 or a child or grandchild of an active IBEW Local 77 member with verifiable documentation.

Financial need is not considered. To learn how to apply for the scholarship, visit http://www.cfncw.org/scholarships/.

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Wanapum Reservoir to reopen at noon on Jan. 7

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

January 7, 2015

Wanapum Reservoir to reopen at noon on Jan. 7

Public access restored to most areas of the shoreline

EPHRATA, Wash.— After Grant PUD raised the Wanapum reservoir by 17 feet in December, the utility, the Washington Department of Fish & Wildlife and Washington State Parks have determined that the reservoir can reopen to the public at noon on Wednesday, Jan. 7.

Working in conjunction with other hydroelectric operators on the Columbia River, Grant PUD began raising the reservoir on Nov. 25 and finished on Dec. 1. After a thorough evaluation, the utility will restore public access to most of the shoreline.

Two boat launches are operational at the current river level – Grant PUD’s Wanapum Upper Boat Launch and the watercraft launch at Wanapum State Park just south of Vantage.  With the reopening of the reservoir, Washington State Parks will open the Wanapum State Park launch for daily access from 8 a.m. to dusk. Camping at the park remains on its regular winter schedule, open for camping only on weekends and holidays until March 1. The park will resume a daily operating schedule for campground and day use facilities after March 1, for the 2015 season.

The following recreation-site locations on the reservoir remain closed because of inoperable boat launches, unstable shorelines or ongoing recreation site improvements:

  • Sand Hollow Recreation Area
  • Vantage Boat Launch and Day-Use Area
  • Frenchman Coulee Boat Launch
  • Sunland Boat Launch
  • Yo Yo Rock Boat Launch and Recreation Area
  • Quilomene Dune and Bay
  • West Bar
  • Crescent Bar Boat Launch and portions of Crescent Bar Island
  • Grant PUD property in the Tarpiscan Creek area
  • Grant PUD property off Columbia Siding Road

Closed shoreline areas are marked with no trespassing signs. To ensure public safety, Grant PUD personnel and law enforcement officials will continue to patrol and enforce trespassing laws in these locations.

Those visiting the shoreline and reservoir are cautioned to be aware that sections of the shoreline may still be unstable. Boaters should be mindful of shallow-water hazards and heed all warning signs and barriers near the dam. Grant PUD continues to monitor and evaluate conditions on the shoreline and will notify the public if the situation changes.

The entire shoreline and access points were closed to the public last March after Grant PUD had to draw down the reservoir by 26 feet in response to a fracture discovered on the Wanapum Dam Spillway. After completing enough work to stabilize and re-enforce the spillway, the utility received permission from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to raise the reservoir.

Work continues on the Wanapum Dam spillway, and Grant PUD expects to have enough repairs finished to return the reservoir to normal operations by the start of the 2015 recreation season.

For additional information on the Wanapum Dam issue, visit: http://www.grantpud.org/your-pud/media-room/wanapum-dam-spillway-response.

#                                                          #

Established by local residents over 75 years ago, Grant PUD generates and delivers energy to millions of customers throughout the Pacific Northwest. What began as a grassroots movement of public power has evolved into one of the premiere providers of renewable energy at some of the most affordable rates in the nation. For more information visit www.grantpud.org or follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

MEDIA CONTACT(S):

Thomas Stredwick or Chuck Allen

(509) 754-5035 / publicaffairs@gcpud.org


The Wanapum Upper Boat Launch, which is off Highway 243 just upriver from Wanapum Dam, is one of two launches that will be open and operable on the Wanapum Reservoir when it reopens to the public at noon on Wednesday, Jan. 7, 2015.

The Vantage Boat Launch is one of the boat launches on the Wanapum Reservoir undergoing construction. It should reopen to the public during late spring of 2015.

Posted in Community, Fish and Wildlife, Natural Resources, Press Releases, Recreation, Wanapum Dam Spillway Response | Leave a comment

11/18/2014 Wanapum Reservoir begins filling over coming weeks

Moves utility one step closer to restoring public access later in year

EPHRATA, Wash.—  After nearly 10 months of working around the clock to repair and strengthen Wanapum Dam’s spillway, Grant PUD will soon be able to raise the reservoir behind the dam.

Subject to the approval of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), the river level will begin to gradually fill sometime between November 24 and December 11 based on river flows and structural-integrity measurements. When complete, the river will be restored approximately 17 feet above current levels. This partial refill will take between six and 18 days to reach the target elevation. This increased reservoir level will allow fish ladders to resume normal operations and allow the utility greater flexibility in managing hydroelectric generation over the winter months.

While the reservoir increases, shoreline enforcement patrols will remain in effect and the Wanapum shoreline will remain closed. Once engineers, law enforcement and cultural resource workers have determined that it is safe to restore access to the shoreline, the utility will notify the public.

The repairs underway bring the spillway structure back into compression and allow the continued safe generation of renewable hydroelectricity. Repairs to the spillway will continue throughout the winter months. The utility expects to resume normal operations in time for the 2015 recreation season.

To date, 13 steel anchor tendons and four anchor bars have been installed, and 83 monitoring drains have been drilled in the spillway.

The collective contributions of tribes, agencies, upstream hydro operators, consultants and Grant PUD staff have led to this milestone.

“We didn’t ask for this to happen but I believe that we have had the right people on the job,” said Commission President Bob Bernd.

“These results are directly attributed to everyone coming together with a common goal and willingness to get things done. The fact that we are seeing the river level increase less than a year after we found an unprecedented fracture in our spillway is nothing short of incredible.”

For additional information on the Wanapum Dam issue, visit: http://www.grantpud.org/your-pud/media-room/wanapum-dam-spillway-response.

MEDIA CONTACT(S):

Thomas Stredwick or Chuck Allen

(509) 754-5035 / publicaffairs@gcpud.org

Posted in Fish and Wildlife, Press Releases, Wanapum Dam Spillway Response | Leave a comment

Grant PUD commissioners set budget & rates for 2015

EPHRATA, Wash. – Following three public hearings, Grant PUD Commissioners adopted a $254.6 million budget and rate schedules for 2015 during their regular meeting on Wednesday, Nov. 12.

The 2015 budget allows Grant PUD to continue providing low-cost, reliable electricity and fund projects required under its federal license to operate Priest Rapids and Wanapum dams. The 2014 adopted budget was set at $247.4 million (it is currently projected at $269.1 million due to costs associated with the Wanapum Dam Spillway Response).

The budget calls for a 2 percent revenue increase from local (retail) customers, and the allocation of that increase will vary by customer class. The chart below outlines the increase for each class of customer.  For the average residential customer this equates to a $2 per month increase on their electric bill (assuming 1,800 kWh).

“Our staff moved us through one of our most challenging years as a utility by responding to the Wanapum Spillway fracture,” said Commission President Bob Bernd. “They have responded well both in terms of finding a long-lasting engineering solution and maintaining a strong financial position for generations to come. This budget and subsequent rate-increase keeps us on track toward long-term, low cost rates.”

Significant items in the budget include:

  • Generator replacements are Wanapum Dam
  • Turbine and Generator replacement work beginning at Priest Rapids Dam
  • Recreation improvement projects
  • On-going electric system reliability improvements
  • Work to enhance fish passage on the Columbia River

The adopted rate increases for each customer class are as follows:

Residential (Rate schedule 1) 2.4%
General Service (Rate Schedule 2) 3.0%
Irrigation (Rate Schedule 3) 3.5%
Streetlights (Rate Schedule 6) 0.5%
Large General (Rate Schedule 7) 2.0%
Industrial (Rate Schedule 14) 3.5%
Large Industrial (Rate Schedule 15) 0.5%
Ag Food Processing (Rate Schedule 16) 2.5%
Ag Food Processing Boiler (Rate Schedule 85) 5.0%

For more information visit: grantpud.org.

#                                                          #

Established by local residents over 75 years ago, Grant PUD generates and delivers energy to millions of customers throughout the Pacific Northwest. What began as a grassroots movement of public power has evolved into one of the premiere providers of renewable energy at some of the most affordable rates in the nation. For more information visit www.grantpud.org or follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

MEDIA CONTACT(S):

Thomas Stredwick or Chuck Allen

(509) 754-5035 / publicaffairs@gcpud.org

Posted in Budget, Community, Employees, Press Releases | Leave a comment

09/22/2014 New Sockeye hatchery construction complete in Penticton, British Columbia

At full production is capable of producing up to 5 million fry annually, helping Grant PUD meet sockeye fry requirements

EPHRATA, Wash.— After breaking ground over a year ago, construction is complete on a new Sockeye Hatchery on Shingle Creek in Penticton, British Columbia.

Exterior of the new hatchery facility on the Penticton Reservation in B.C. Canada. The name of the facility is written on the building and means, “to cause to bring them back” in the Syilx language.

The hatchery will be operational this fall and is a component of a 49-year agreement signed by Grant PUD in 2011 with the Okanagan Nation Alliance (ONA). The ONA is a collaborative group made up of eight first-nation communities partnering with Grant and Chelan PUDs. As a portion of the agreement with the ONA, Grant PUD agreed to pay 55 percent of construction costs for the facility and 66 percent of the annual operations and maintenance costs in exchange for producing up to 1.143 million sockeye fry Grant PUD is required to release annually. The site is located on the Penticton Indian Band’s reservation and was chosen because of its optimal conditions and geographic location for producing sockeye.

These requirements stem from the 2006 Salmon and Steelhead Settlement Agreement signed by resource agencies, tribal representatives and Grant PUD which requires the utility to mitigate for impacts to sockeye salmon as a result of operation of Priest Rapids and Wanapum dams. This $10.5 million hatchery allows Grant PUD to meet its requirements for sockeye obligations well into the future, with ONA contracted to be the operator of the facility.

“Salmon and steelhead runs continue to break records each year. Habitat restoration, and hatchery efforts, coupled with our successful fish passage modifications at our dams (like the fish bypasses), demonstrate that our hard work and collaboration is paying off,” said Commissioner Terry Brewer.

Returning adult salmon and steelhead passing Priest Rapids Dam this year are approaching one million. The 10-year average for salmon and steelhead at Priest Rapids dam is 331,322 (2004-2013). The 20-year average is 231,081 (1994-2013).

Media Contact: Thomas Stredwick | tstredwick@gcpud.org

Posted in Community, Fish and Wildlife, Natural Resources, Press Releases | Leave a comment

09/09/2014 Major milestone crossed in Wanapum Dam repairs

Crews begin installing anchor tendons at Wanapum Dam

EPHRATA, Wash.— Grant PUD and its contractors recently installed the first of 35 steel anchor tendons on the Wanapum Dam spillway, paving the way to increase the river elevation behind the dam later this year.

The tendons begin at the top of the spillway and end deep into the bedrock below the dam, ensuring the long-term stability of the spillway. Along with the approximately 200-foot-long anchor tendons throughout the spillway, work is also underway to install over 50 steel anchor bars to repair the one fractured spillway structure.

The work is expected to continue into the first quarter of 2015, with enough of the installations completed to partially raise the level of the reservoir behind the dam in the fourth quarter of 2014, pending the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) approval. These repairs and the subsequent increase in river elevation, will allow the utility to restore public access to the shoreline, increase electric generation, improve public safety concerns and protect culturally-sensitive sites. Until the reservoir is raised, the shoreline and access points will remain closed to the public. The utility will provide an update with specific timeframes for raising the river elevation and restoring public access.

As estimates are refined and construction plans finalized, the operational and repair costs of the Wanapum Dam Spillway response are estimated at $69 million. Grant PUD’s strong financial position allows the utility to pay for its proportionate share of the cost by using cash reserves and selling bonds. The utility isn’t expecting any revenue increases for retail customers beyond the previously planned 2 percent increase included in the current forecast. Wanapum Dam continues to generate electricity and accommodate river flows in coordination with the other dam operators on the Columbia River. The plant continues to operate approximately 26 feet below the normal operating range.

Modifications to Wanapum Dam’s two fish ladders have proven successful during this year’s record-breaking adult migration season. Over 700,000 salmon and steelhead have already passed the dam on their journey to upstream spawning habitat.

During the drawdown, Grant PUD has accelerated plans for improvements to three boat launches on the reservoir. Improvements to the Vantage and Frenchman Coulee boat launches have recently been completed and work to remove sediment from the Crescent Bar Boat Launch channel has begun. Doing this work during the drawdown results in substantial cost savings, reduced environmental impact, provides better quality control, and reduces the construction period.

To view the repair work visit our YouTube channel at: http://youtu.be/x-XluPffTEc

For additional information on the Wanapum Dam issue, visit: http://www.grantpud.org/your-pud/media-room/wanapum-dam-spillway-response.

MEDIA CONTACT:

Thomas Stredwick

(509) 754-5035 / publicaffairs@grantpud.org

Posted in Press Releases, Wanapum Dam Spillway Response | Leave a comment