Commission recap, 10/25/2022

Grant PUD's hydro plants produce a million megawatt-hours more in 2022 than 2021

An emphasis on teamwork and putting resources to highest priority work has helped Grant PUD generate over a million more megawatt-hours of power in 2022 than it produced in 2021, Ben Pearson, Senior Manager of Hydro Generation explained during Power Production's third quarter update to Grant PUD Commissioners during their meeting on Tuesday, Oct. 15.

"Power Production has essentially a brand-new hydro generation leadership team," Pearson said, emphasizing that his team is working to dissolve the "silos" that have been present in Power Production for many years. "We're a team. We're going to function as a team to work together to put resources at the highest priority, which is key to future success. It's a pretty major culture shift," Pearson noted.

Prioritizing capital work is also going well with the Priest Rapids Right Embankment Project ahead of schedule and rehabilitation of the No. 7 generating unit at Priest Rapids Dam. Power Production is also celebrating 100% safety meeting attendance (including makeups) for the past 11 months.

Hear the discussion beginning at 1:13:36 of the commission audio and see the full report on pages on pages 17-42 of the presentation materials.

Power Delivery to add High Line crew for proactive work
Ron Alexander, Managing Director of Power Delivery told the commissioners about changes happening within the line department that will "Change the focus to the assets we have. With all the growth we have a lot of catching up to do." This includes reestablishing a full-time Transmission, or High Line, crew of five to six people to spend time inspecting lines and performing work directly related to preventive maintenance and repairs as found during inspections. Power Delivery is also creating a new Distribution System Enhancement Team. This team would include at least a line crew (4) and an electrical engineer (1) plus another position to be added, which would be focused on maintenance, power quality, and the 10-year distribution plan. Hear the discussion beginning at 1:54:55 of the commission audio and see the full report on pages on pages 43-59 of the presentation materials.

Alexander also teamed up with Jason Stordahl, project manager, to give an update on the Quincy Transmission Expansion Plan (QTEP). When completed, the expansion plan, which includes 10 transmission lines and switchyard improvements, would increase the Quincy area power load limit from 310 megawatts to 650 megawatts. All of the QTEP projects are expected to be completed by 2028 with a total projected cost of $163 million. Project expenses will be recouped through power sales. Hear the discussion beginning at 3:32:51 of the commission audio and see the full report on pages on pages 78-102 of the presentation materials

Microsoft makes contribution to Pay-it-forward fund
The first item at the business meeting was a presentation to recognize Microsoft for a recent $240,000 donation to Grant PUD's Pay-it-forward fund. The money reflects an energy savings rebate that Microsoft earned for facility upgrades at their Quincy campus of 33.4 million kilowatt hours per year. Microsoft TechSpark Manager Lisa Karstetter accepted the award on behalf of Microsoft. The Pay-it-forward fund is managed by the Columbia Basin Foundation. It goes to support Grant County citizens and programs. Since 2019, Pay-it-forward has provided donations to projects such as Big Bend Community Colleges Workforce Education Center, to local schools for food security programs, and for technology in schools. Hear the discussion beginning at 2:54:49 of the commission audio.

Also presented to the Commission during reports from staff:
Safety Coordinator Jordan Rang gave the October Safety report, which included two incidents reported and one restricted duty case. Discussions on current metrics, leading and lagging indicators, and workplace injury care rounded out the presentation. Hear the discussion beginning at 57:09:00 of the commission audio and see the full report on pages on pages 1-16 of the presentation materials

Economist Amanpreet Singh gave a presentation on the Q3 Retail Load Variances. Rate Schedules 1 - Residential, as well as Rate Schedules 7, 14, 15, 16, 85 and 94 are all above the budgeted amount. Rate Schedule 2 - General Service, and Rate Schedule 3 - Irrigation, are below the budget. Cryptocurrency has been determined to be an Evolving Industry and the proposed pricing, rate determinants and migration timing will be presented to the commission soon. Hear the discussion beginning at 2:34:36 of the commission audio and see the full report on pages on pages 60-74 of the presentation materials

Commissioners amongst other items, approved the following, which can be read in the commission packet:

  • Renewing Grant PUD's property and liability insurance coverage with insurance broker Beecher Carlson. Annual premiums for the coverage are increasing from $3.8 million to $4.2 million. Hear the discussion beginning at 3:02:50 of the commission audio.
  • Entered into a contract not to exceed $1.5 million through Nov. 15, 2025 for Arch Staffing and Consulting to provide contracted labor resources for Grant PUD's Enterprise Technology needs. Hear the discussion beginning at 3:04:40 of the commission audio
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