Budget advances financial targets, ensures stability for customers
EPHRATA, Wash. –Grant PUD commissioners unanimously adopted a $274.3 million budget for 2018 that reflects a $33 million decrease in net expenditures from 2017.
The budget anticipates a positive bottom line of $57.3 million which will be reinvested in electric generation, delivery and environmental assets. The budget also furthers goals to keep the utility financially strong and energy prices as affordable as possible for customers.
“Our 2018 budget delivers on our customer’s expectation that we provide reliable and affordable energy,” said PUD General Manager Kevin Nordt. “Our healthy local economy depends on affordable power. Grant PUD’s low rates are a major draw for businesses moving to our area, leading the way to more job opportunities and services for residents across our county. That’s just one of the reasons we’re committed to keeping prices low—because we know the vitality of our region depends on it,” said Nordt.
The approved budget contains $139.6 million for capital spending on projects that include continued rehabilitation of the aging generators and turbines at Priest Rapids and Wanapum dams, needed electric system improvements pushed by the county’s growing demand for electricity, the utility’s new advanced meter program, and new recreation amenities.
Other key cost drivers in the approved budget include $110.8 million for operations and maintenance– an increase of less than 1 percent over 2017 – as well as $92.3 million for payments on the PUD’s $1.35 billion in total debt, and tax payments of $17.1 million.
On the heels of an extensive public outreach campaign, commissioners also allocated $7 million dollars toward the continued expansion of Grant PUD’s High Speed Network. In separate action, commissioners also approved a $3 per month increase to the basic and premium wholesale fiber access fee. These fees will be passed on to local internet service providers.
The approved budget meets commission goals of managing overall costs within a small, predictable 2 percent annual increase in electric rates which are slated for implementation this spring. Commissioners will review this rate recommendation and give the public opportunities for input before taking action.