Commission recap, 3/28/2023 — Public workshop on proposed transmission line set for April 12

Commissioners, meeting Tuesday at Grant PUD's Hydro Office Building near Wanapum Dam, again heard from Grant County residents who oppose the route of a proposed new transmission line from the Wanapum Dam Switchyard near Beverly to the Mountain View Substation in western Quincy.

The 230-kilovolt line, which is necessary to increase the electrical supply in Quincy to meet future energy needs for homes and industry, would run along Beverly Burke Road and through George. See the proposed route (Option 4B) here. The residents are proposing the line be instead relocated to a less populated, less farmed and less environmentally affected area.

Commissioners informed the residents that a workshop is scheduled for 6 p.m. Wednesday, April 12, in the George Community Center to answer questions and review project details. The route option 4B is currently the only route option subject to further study.

Hear the full conversation at 2:31:25 on the commission audio.

Commissioners unanimously approved:

— An implementation policy associated with the settlement agreement between Grant PUD and the Yakama Nation from 2007 regarding the Priest Rapids Project. The proposal, which has been approved by the Yakama Tribal Council, provides Yakama Nation via Yakama Power an effective path toward developing its own renewable power resources. See page 8 of the commission packet for more information.

— A resolution establishing a new time for starting commission meetings at 8:30 a.m. rather than the usual 9 a.m. to give the board an allotted, 30-minute time slot for closed-door executive sessions. The public portion of the meetings will continue to begin at 9 a.m., with staff presentations beginning at 9:30 a.m., as usual, the second and fourth Tuesdays of each month. Unless otherwise specific, meetings take place at Ephrata Headquarters, 30 C Street SW, Ephrata WA 98823. See page 11 of the commission packet for more information.

Commissioners also:

— Heard from Senior Manager of Safety Craig Bressan about priority work for 2023, which includes:

  • A nearly completed project and training that would extend Grant PUD's high safety standards to all contractors working on Grant PUD projects.
  • Developing a "Stay at Work" program for employees who can and want to work but are restricted to light duty due to injury or health condition.
  • Work underway to review and update all safety related policies and procedures, including for electrical and crane use, and take noise samples in different job environments to promote a hearing conservation program.

    See the full presentation on pages 42-51 of the presentation materials. Hear the full conversation at 1:12:00 on the commission audio.

Heard from Senior Manager of External Affairs Chuck Allen and Community Engagement Coordinator Annette Lovitt that organizations such as the American Public Power Association, the National Hydropower Association, Northwest River Partners, the Washington Public Utility District Association, and the Foundation for Water and Energy Education all help to amplify Grant PUD's voice when it comes to state and federal legislative outreach, plus educational and communications activities. Some key legislative outreach activities are centered around the Columbia River Treaty, the importance of the Lower Snake River Dams and seeking streamlined funding opportunities for power grid infrastructure. See the full presentation on pages 52-71 of the presentation materials. Hear the full conversation at 1:47:16 on the commission audio.

— Heard from Senior Manager of Employee Experience Tom Stredwick about Grant PUD's efforts to foster overall job success and satisfaction through training, educational reimbursement, professional growth and well-being. "Orange and Blue U" is a new, emergent leadership training program for frontline employees with a record of outstanding performance and commitment to the utility's Code of Excellence. This year's pilot group of employee participants are Power Production Engineer Molly Hill, Facilities Electrician TJ Hossele, Project Coordinator Mindy Klingenberg, Senior Term Marketer Melissa Lyons and Power System Electrician Casey Raab. See the full presentation on pages 72-97 of the presentation materials. Hear the full conversation at 3:41:39 on the commission audio.

— Received updates that include facilities improvements from Senior Manager of Internal Services Fallon Long (See the full presentation on pages 98-106 of the presentation materials. Hear the full conversation at 4:37:54 on the commission audio) and Operational Excellence from Senior Manager of Operational Excellene Chris Roseburg (See the full presentation on pages 107-134 of the presentation materials. Hear the full conversation at 4:55:03 on the commission audio.)

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