Commission highlights, 5/23/2023

$1 million approved for taller, safer bucket truck —  

Grant PUD commissioners Tuesday approved $1 million to buy a taller, more reliable bucket truck to enable crews to reach the highest pole structures safely.

The Altec truck would replace a smaller, 20-year-old truck that is slated for retirement.

The boom on the proposed new truck reaches a working height of 150 feet, compared to 100 feet for the old truck. It has “10-wheel drive” for off-road capability. Its boom is insulated, protecting crews from electrical shock, and its bucket is “self-leveling,” creating a safer, level working surface, even on uneven ground.

Altec is already building the truck for a utility equipment show in September. Grant PUD should receive the truck by year end, Transportation Manager Brian Barrows told commissioners. The wait time for such a truck is usually three years.

Commissioners were scheduled to vote on the purchase at their June 13 meeting, but decided to approve the purchase Tuesday to help ensure the truck arrives this year.

See the full presentation on pages 15-23 of the presentation materials. Hear the discussion at 51:05:15 on the commission audio.


Fiber build-out on track for late-2024 completion

With 24 of the 40 areas targeted to receive the Grant PUD fiber-optic network now complete — and three more well on their way — commissioners learned that the build-out schedule is still on track for whole-county coverage by late 2024.

“I’m excited to see this completed, and it’s due to the vision you guys had and the support you’ve had for it,” Jeremy Conner, fiber project manager, told commissioners of Grant PUD’s approximately six-year push to complete the network.

Grant PUD contractor NorthSky expects to install 70 miles of new fiber cable underground this year and 285 from poles. The build-out areas of Warden (Area 25) and North, East and South Quincy (Area 26) are nearly complete. Northwest and Southwest Quincy (Area 27) is nearly 60% complete. Progress in the remaining areas has already begun.

The forecasted cost to connect these 40 areas is now approximately $128.4 million, higher than originally forecast due to a higher number miles of fiber laid underground, Conner said.

See the full presentation on pages 24-31 of the presentation materials. Hear the discussion at 1:03:15 on the commission audio.


Commissioners also:

— Heard that Grant PUD’s Enterprise Project Management Office is now shepherding 41 projects in different areas of the county, including work to upgrade the turbine/generator units at Priest Rapids Dam and multiple projects to expand the capacity of the electric system. See the full presentation on pages 32-51 of the presentation materials. Hear the discussion at 1:35:22 on the commission audio.

— Heard the Treasury Department’s proposal to refund $55.0 million in variable-rate Electric System revenue refunding bonds for fixed-rate bonds for an estimated $1.2 million to $2.7 million in savings. They also plan to redeem $27.3 million in outstanding Priest Rapids and Wanapum taxable debt, refund $121.1 million in taxable bonds linked to Priest Rapids and Wanapum dams to tax-exempt debt, and issue $30.0 million in tax-exempt new revenue bonds to help fund ongoing projects that include Priest Rapids Dam embankment Improvements, Turbine Upgrade, and Generator Rewind. Commissioners heard that market conditions are currently favorable. Market conditions estimate $5.2 million in Net Present Value Savings. Commissioners must approve the proposed transactions; their vote is scheduled for June 13. Upon approval, the bonds will be priced in mid-July. If the transaction meets the required parameters, the approved transactions will be completed by late July. See the full presentation on pages 52-60 of the presentation materials. Hear the discussion at 2:08:54 on the commission audio.

— Received first quarter financial reports from senior managers representing different business functions for the utility. The reports begin on page 61 of the staff presentation materials. Hear the discussion at 3:33:20 on the commission audio.

— Approved the following:

  • A $1.152 million three-year contract with Anixter Inc., to continuing using the company’s software-as-a-service system that operates Grant PUD’s advanced metering system for its Grant County customers. The approved contract means there will be no lapse of data collection that is used to develop the bills for customers. For more details, see pages 10 and 11 of the commission packet here.

  • A $31.913 million change order with Quanta Infrastructure Solutions Group, LLC to lock in funding for the Red Rock Transmission Line project and other costs associated with the Design Build 2 initiative, which includes transmission line and substation work to accommodate growing power demands in the county. For more details, see page 60 of the commission packet here.
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