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Highlights from the 5/10/2022 commission meeting // Work on secondary embankment at Priest Rapids Dam progresses

Work on secondary embankment at Priest Rapids Dam progresses

The cost to build a secondary embankment on the Yakima County side of Priest Rapids Dam will increase $2.6 million to improve the project's quality and safety, commissioners heard Tuesday.

The change order to the contract with IMCO General Construction increases the total project cost to $57.4 million. The increase comes after several test applications of the roller-compacted concrete used in the embankment revealed a need for a different, more workable mix of ingredients than the mix originally budgeted. The increase will also pay for flagger-controls along a segment of a primitive, single-lane access road to the job site from the Yakima County side of the dam. Grant PUD has permission from the private road's owner to use the route during construction. The new embankment is a federal requirement to improve earthquake resistance. Commissioners will vote on the increase at their next meeting, May 24.

View the entire report on pages 1-17 of the presentation materials and pages 24-33 of the commission packet. Hear the discussion at 49:12 on the commission audio.

Commissioners also:

– Heard during a first-quarter business report that the Grant PUD Power Delivery Construction and Maintenance team has been working on projects to replace aged system components, including 130 aged poles this year, before they fail and cause outages. Pushed by preventive maintenance work, the team appears on track to overspend its $3.5 million annual budget by approximately $800,000.

View the entire report on pages 18-30 of the presentation materials. Hear the discussion at 1:31:27 on the commission audio.

– Heard from Lauri Tish, partner in externa auditing firm MossAdams, that Grant PUD earned a clean financial audit through the year ending 12/31/2021. The audit reviews capital assets (labor, vendors, overhead, etc), operating expenses and related payables, bond activity, power-sales transactions, retail energy sales, IT and general computer controls and financial statement footnote disclosures.

"We value your work because you are independent eyes," Commission Vice-President Tom Flint told Tish. "We take great pride in our people here and having you affirm that."

View the entire report on pages 31-44 of the presentation materials. Hear the discussion at 2:13:25 on the commission audio.

– Heard that Grant PUD spending is slightly ahead through March of the $301.7 million annual budget, pushed mostly by greater progress on capital projects and labor costs. The utility expects total expenditures to now end the year at $308.4 million, about $6.7 million over budget.

View the entire report on pages 53-67 of the presentation materials. Hear the discussion at 3:42:02 on the commission audio.

– Received a federal and state legislative update from Ryan Holterhoff and Chuck Allen, of Grant PUD's External Affairs and Communications Department.

Holterhoff told the board that the utility is working to determine if it can qualify to recoup costs that came from past due bills of customers related to the impacts of COVID-19. The money would come through a $100 million fund set up by the state to support utilities for that purpose. Grant PUD is also working with industry organizations to address challenges with state agencies regarding grid reliability, given the state's goals in areas such as the increased electrification of transportation and buildings that have historically been powered by fossil fuels.

On the federal side, Allen told the board that the utility has created a project through its Enterprise Project Management Office with stakeholders throughout the organization to address the possibility of applying for and receiving federal grant money. Allen explained that Grant PUD is primarily considering applying for money that would help pay for projects already planned by the utility.


View the entire report on pages 68-79 of the presentation materials. Hear the discussion on 4:07:38 of the commission audio.

In other business:

  • The commissioners received a semi-annual report from Dmitriy Turchik, Manager of Internal Audit. View the entire report on pages 45-52 of the presentation materials. Hear the discussion on 3:12:53 of the commission audio.
  • Reviewed a proposal appointing Angelina Johnson as Deputy Treasurer
  • Reviewed a proposal to update Grant PUD's Strategic Plan to reflect recent changes to the senior executive team.