Commission recap, 4/25/2023 — Preventive maintenance paying off in reduced outage times. More...

An invigorated focus on preventive distribution-system maintenance appears to be yielding a much lower total outage time, systemwide, Managing Director of Power Delivery Ron Alexander, told commissioners, Tuesday.

Since total outage time peaked in June 2022 at more than 130 minutes, total outage time dropped below the 100-minute target in August 2022 and continued plummeting downward to less than 70 minutes in November 2022. It has remained well below target ever since. Likewise, average outage duration per Grant PUD customer is also well below the target of .75%, Alexander said.

Crews have been working to replace aged poles, and pole components blamed for pole fires. They’ve also worked on improving “power quality” by updating equipment to ensure voltage remains within acceptable parameters even on the longer distribution lines.

“The improvement I’ve seen over the last 2-3 years — how things have been realigned and repositioned — it’s just brought the bar up higher,” said Commissioner Larry Schaapman, referring to the entire Power Production team. “As a commissioner I couldn’t be more pleased and more proud about what you guys are doing.”

See the full presentation on pages 43-62 of the presentation materials. Hear the full discussion at 1:29:41 on the commission audio.

Commissioners also:

— Unanimously approved Resolution 9014 updating Grant’s Telecommunication Customer Service Policy and related fee schedule.  See the full presentation on pages 8-33 of the presentation materials.

Heard from Moss Adams as they presented their clean, unmodified opinion for the recent audit conducted on Grant PUD’s Dec. 31, 2022, financial statements. The audit also covered internal controls with no deficiencies. Audit emphasis was put on capital assets and construction in process, bond activity, power-sales transactions and the adoption of a new GASB 87 leasing standard, among others. Laurie Tish with Moss Adams complimented Grant PUD staff saying, “Jennifer (Sager) and the accounting team were wonderful to work with. They were open, transparent, and welcoming with all of our needs.”

See the full presentation on pages 63-74 of the presentation materials. Hear the full discussion at 3:06:17 on the commission audio.

Heard that turbine/generator units at Priest Rapids and Wanapum dams surpassed from January through March the target to be available to generate electricity 87% of the time, according to Managing Director of Power Production Ty Ehrman This plant-performance metric tracks the time the units are out of service. The metric fluctuates monthly based the amount of planned downtime for maintenance, upgrades or repairs.

Ehrman said major Power Production-related capital projects are on track, with work on a secondary embankment on the Yakima County side of Priest Rapids Dam expected to be complete by late December 2023. Crews at the dam have almost reached the halfway point of an approximately 10-year project to rehabilitate the dam’s 10 turbine/generator units. The fifth of the 10 units should be finished by year-end. Other equipment upgrades at the time are also on track.

See the full presentation on pages 28-42 of the presentation materials. Hear the full discussion at 30:30:00 on the commission audio.

— Heard that energy use in Grant County from January through March came in at 686 average megawatts — 17 average megawatts, or 2.4%, below budget due to a reduction in ag food processing and lower-than-expected energy-use among some industrial customers.

Rate Schedules 7, 14, 15, 16, 17, 85 and 94 ended the quarter about 26 average megawatts below budget, influenced especially by Rate Schedule 15 and 16. One industrial customer expected to grow into Rate Schedule 15, for large industrials, but remained in Rate Schedule 14.

In Rate Schedule 16 for Ag food processors, one customer decreased much of its energy use due to construction on site and others came in lower than forecast due to reduction in ag food processing.

Cryptocurrency customers were moved to the higher Rate Schedule 17 in February and ended the quarter at 25 average megawatts collectively. That was about 2 average megawatts lower than their energy use before the move to the higher rate.

Rate Schedule 1 for residential customers ended the quarter at 160 average megawatts, 6.2% higher than budget forecast due to a colder than normal winter. Adjusted for the weather, however, this rate class actually also came in 1.9% below budget at 145 average megawatts.

See the full presentation on pages 75-88 of the presentation materials. Hear the full discussion at 3:58:28 on the commission audio.

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