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Commission recap: 'Takin' care of business in 2024. And more...

The band Bachman Turner Overdrive lit up the Roseland Ballroom stage in New York City a decade ago with a rockin’ performance of their classic anthem “Takin’ Care of Business” to a euphoric live audience. The band’s guest keyboardist — Paul Shaffer, of David Letterman Show fame — supercharged the song’s finale by tipping his electronic organ on its end, spinning it around so the keys faced the audience and playing it vertically. And that is exactly the YouTube video that Grant PUD Commission President Tom Flint chose to “set the tone” for 2024 at the year’s first commission meeting, Tuesday.

“After years of COVID, Grant PUD is back taking care of business. That’s my motivation to start the year,” said Flint, who is now into his 20th year as a Grant PUD commissioner and a time or three (at least) as commission president. During the business meeting, after lunch, Flint listed the following goals and objectives for 2024:  

  • Be good stewards of our resources. Our employees are our most valuable resource.
  • Continue and enhance our safety culture.
  • Improve our financial ratings and cost effectiveness.
  • Reduce our operating risk.
  • Preserve, protect and perpetuate the history of the Wanapum People and include the history of Grant PUD and the farmers, ranchers and rural residents who made it happen.
  • Further development and expansion should not be at the expense of our core power users.
  • Work to modify the utility’s current cost-of-service-based rate-setting policy, while following existing policy to avoid rate shock, make any rate increases small and predictable, and try to minimize any unintended consequences of rate changes.
  • Pursue other generating resources that are available around the clock, year-round, and are economically feasible, including small nuclear reactors paid for with longterm power contracts – much the way the construction of Priest Rapids and Wanapum dams were financed.
  • Support employment in Grant County and growing our own employees.
  • Completing the fiber buildout before the end of the year, as promised.

Hear Commissioner Flint announcing his objectives for 2024 at 2:45:18 on the commission audio.


Fiber staffers propose technology transition to a more cost effective and scalable network service

Grant PUD staff recommend transitioning the current “Active-E” ethernet technology for to-the-home fiber-optic service with industry standard “passive optical network” or PON technology for a more cost effective and scalable service with greater longevity.

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Commission recap, 12/12/2023 — Bond refi to save Grant PUD $7.4 million. More...


External Affairs shares outreach successes in 2023

The External Affairs Department shared highlights from their community outreach efforts in 2023 with the commissioners. One highlight was a national award for the PUD’s Fiber Dog video. The video received an Award of Merit from the American Public Power Association. The same video was named the Audience Choice winner out of more than 10 videos that were shown to attendees during the APPA’s Customer Connection Conference in San Antonio, Texas in November.

Chuck Allen, Senior Manager of External Affairs & Communications told the commissioners that the award was fitting recognition for the hard work of the Public Affairs staff, including Rosalie Black and Raquel Urbina, who developed the video in-house.  

Another highlight was the successful launch of Grant PUD’s 509River.org website the 2023 recreation season. Black explained that the website was developed to help the utility achieve a goal of having more people visit the lesser-known Grant PUD campsites and boat launches on the Columbia River. Black said the marketing campaign associated with the website showed about a 25% increase in campers at the Sand Hollow website in August and that she thought there would be even greater results there and at other target locations including the campsites at Rocky Coulee and Jackson Creek. 

Annette Lovitt, the External Affairs Community Outreach coordinator also told the commissioners that the department will be looking for more opportunities to participate in community events and activities in 2024 to help further the utility’s customer engagement and education goals for 2024. Hear the discussion at 4:09:35 of the commission audio and see page 39 of the presentation materials

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Commission recap, 11/28/2023 — New software, solid teamwork shave hours off turbine/generator rehab

Project managers are crediting teamwork and a new cloud-based tool for project scheduling, resource management and performance monitoring for shaving thousands of work hours off the rehab of a fifth turbine/generator unit at Priest Rapids Dam and finishing the big project 38 days ahead of schedule.

Rehab of the fifth of the dam’s 10 generating units required 88,000 work hours to complete, compared to 95,000 hours for the previous turbine/generating unit, Project Manager Eric Hull told commissioners. The Oracle software tool, Primavera, was responsible for a portion of the efficiency gain, combined with quality teamwork.

Rehab of a single unit requires more than 800 individual tasks, each requiring at least one day, he said. The tool allows managers and supervisors to better schedule and reschedule work crews to reduce down time due to unexpected supply chain and other delays.

Grant PUD launched the software two years ago, he said. The tool is widely used throughout the industry. The dam’s turbine/generator rehab project began in August 2016. The final five units are scheduled to be rehabbed by late October 2029.

“So, are we on schedule?” Hull rhetorically asked commissioners? “No. We’re ahead of schedule.”

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Commission recap, 11/14/2023 — 2024 budget approved w/funding to finish fiber buildout

Commissioners Tuesday unanimously approved a $347.2 million expense budget for 2024 that fosters continued financial strength, ensures continued reliable service for Grant PUD customers and completes a milestone, 24-year effort to make the Grant PUD fiber-optic network available to every resident of Grant County.

“Fiber for everyone who wants it was a commitment we made as a commission in 2000,” said Tom Flint, the board’s longest-standing member and a consistent fiber advocate. “At times, it didn’t seem as if we’d get there, but it sure looks like it’s going to happen by late next year. That’s good to see.”

The 2024 budget includes a rate increase. Commissioners continue working with staff to determine how much a rate increase is needed to maintain the utility’s financial health and how the increase will affect each individual rate class.

Future rate discussions will be scheduled to give customers ample chance for input before the new rates are expected to take effect on April 1, 2024.

Total budgeted expenditures in 2024 are 9.5% higher than the $317 million in total spending originally budgeted in 2023. The increase is driven by 7.3% increase in operations and maintenance expenses, from $188.2 million in 2023 to $201.9 million, and a 11.6% increase in capital spending, from $155 million in 2023 to $172.9 million.

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Commission recap 10/24/2023 — Rate-setting process will take all customers into account. More...


Grant PUD commissioners Tuesday told an audience that packed the Ephrata headquarters’ boardroom that their ongoing discussion over how to set electric rates and arrive at a rate increase for 2024 will take into account all the county’s economic sectors and ensure “core customers” are protected.

Commissioner Cox invited the audience to a commission workshop, Nov. 21, at 9 a.m. in the Grant PUD Ephrata Headquarters commission room for an in-depth discussion about rates.

Comments from Commissioners Tom Flint, Judy Wilson, Terry Pyle and Larry Schaapman reinforced their intention to represent all voters of Grant County, not just the industrial and ag sectors.

They added that industrial demand for electricity should not come at the expense of Grant PUD’s core customers — residential, irrigation, small and medium business and large commercial — billed under rate schedules 1, 2, 3 and 7. Core customers pay below cost for their electricity. Industrial customers pay above-cost for their electricity.

They called for a need to revise Resolution 8768, approved by the board in 2015. Based on a Grant PUD analysis of the cost to provide electricity to its different customer groups, the resolution proposed yearly rate adjustments to eventually arrive at the target “goal posts” that no customer group would pay less than 20% below its cost to serve, nor more than 15% above its cost to serve by Dec. 31, 2023.

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Commission recap, 10/10/2023 — Industrial and ag customers seek greater participation in rate discussion. More...

Members of two of Grant PUD’s largest power-consuming customer groups told commissioners Tuesday that they wanted more participation in commissioners’ ongoing discussion about how much to raise rates over the coming years and how the increases would apply to each ratepayer group.

“We’d like to be part of the wrestling match,” Dan Miller, spokesman for the Ag Power Users Group of Grant County told commissioners during the more than 60-minute discussion noted for its respect and cordiality. “It’s a question of you guys telling us your time frame, and we’ll come here and sit down and talk to you.”

“I appreciate the PUD holding this meeting today,” said Ryan Beebout, general manager for Sabey Data Centers, and a leader of the Grant County Industrial Alliance. “I appreciate the open dialog. I think we’ll get a lot farther and find a mutually beneficial solution if we have these open dialogs together. It’s good to see some collaboration between the industrials and ag.”

Central to the discussion is commissioners’ need to revise or replace a rate-setting policy, Resolution 8768, approved by the board in 2015. Based on a Grant PUD analysis of the cost to provide electricity to its different customer groups, the resolution proposed yearly rate adjustments to eventually arrive at the target “goal posts” that no customer group would pay less than 20% below its cost to serve, or more than 15% above its cost to serve by Dec. 31, 2023.

The resolution remains in effect, but commissioners four years ago agreed to depart from the resolution’s annual rate adjustments. Rates have not increased for four consecutive years.

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Commission recap, 9/26/2023 — Commissioners welcome Education-Reimbursement policy updates. More...

Changes to a policy on education reimbursement for employees will help ensure more consistency in the administration of the program and help ensure the utility continues to reap the benefits of that investment.  

Senior Manager of Employee Experience Tom Stredwick said the changes better define limits on what the utility will spend, how much on-the-job time the recipient employees can spend studying, the number and type of academic degrees it will fund per employee, the type of employee who can qualify for the reimbursement and the number of years a recipient must remain on staff after completing his/her studies without having to pay the tuition back.  

This program aligns with Grant PUD Commission desire to have an industry leading education reimbursement program as outlined in Strategic Plan Objective 2. Programs like this were created to ensure that Grant PUD is able to grow local talent. In Grant County, only 13% of residents have a 4-year degree which precludes many from having access to many positions within the organization. 

“I’m glad to see you tightening up some of the requirements,” Commission Judy Wilson said. “They need to be going for a program that will benefit the PUD, too.” 

“I definitely agree with the grow-our-own program,” Commission President Nelson Cox said. “But I do like the tightening up.” 

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Delve into Columbia Plateau cultures at Archaeology Days

The Wanapum Heritage Center and Grant PUD invite you to…

Delve into Columbia Plateau cultures at Archaeology Days

Learn about the Wanapum way of life with a day of fun and interactive experiences at the Wanapum Heritage Center, near Priest Rapids Dam.

Archaeology Days commemorates state Archaeology Month with two days of hands-on activities – one for kids and one for adults – amid the basalt and Columbia River-carved high-desert basin the Wanapum have inhabited since time immemorial.

  • Youth Day, Oct. 3, from 9:30 a.m. to 2:30p.m. is for area students to hear stories, learn about area flora, fauna, geology and ecology. They’ll observe hide tanning, beadwork and tule mat weaving. They’ll throw an atlatl (hunting spear) the Wanapum way, view Indigenous arts and crafts and get a glimpse into the cultural importance of it all. Student groups must call the Heritage Center in advance to reserve space. See the telephone number, below.
  • Adult Day, Oct. 4, from 9 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. is open to all for a full day of interesting presentations by expert speakers on a host of cultural, natural and historical topics. A list of the day’s presenters will be available at the event. Many of the hands-on exhibits featured on Youth Day stick around for the adults, too.

The Wanapum Heritage Center will be open both days, featuring the permanent exhibit “Life as a Wanapum,” with audio interviews, interactive monitors, diorama and a life-size tule-mat lodge. The Temporary Exhibit Hall currently features the “Portraits in Red. Murdered & Missing Indigenous People Painting Project.”

Getting there: The Wanapum Heritage Center is 1.5 miles south of Desert Aire, off Highway 243. Turn at the Priest Rapids Dam entrance. Address: 29082 Highway 243 South.

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Customer feedback welcome at Grant PUD hearings for 2024 budget


The public will get a look at Grant PUD’s draft 2024 budget and proposed rate increase at three public budget hearings in October.


Hearing dates are:


Oct. 10, 2023 — Ephrata Headquarters Commission Room — 2 p.m.

30 C Street SW, Ephrata, WA 98823

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Commission recap, 9/12/2023 — Fresh, cold water for fish, more...


Grant PUD commissioners at their Sept. 12, 2023 meeting:

— Learned that the Fish and Wildlife Team will be seeking a contractor to support Grant PUD’s efforts to determine the survival of juvenile salmon and steelhead migrating through the Priest Rapids Project, Tom Dresser, Manager of Fish, Wildlife and Water Quality, said. The 2025-2027 analysis will determine if current mitigation efforts, such as juvenile fish passages at the dams, advanced turbine systems and other measures are continuing to maintain the required survival standards. Other fish-related capital projects reported on included:

  • A new production well to supply water to Grant PUD’s Carlton Acclimation facility located on the Methow River and a domestic well, which will be drilled next. Total project cost to date is $880,290. The production well is necessary because the Methow River is naturally migrating away from the facility’s existing water intake structure. The facility acclimates juvenile salmon to Methow River water prior to their release into the river. Once acclimated, salmon will return to that river to spawn after migrating to the ocean to mature.
  • Permit applications are expected to go out by December to upgrade the Priest Rapids Hatchery Siphon Intake, which provides the hatchery with surface water from the Columbia River. The current intake does not currently meet required fish screening standards/criteria. The current estimated cost is approximately $5.3 million with project completion schedule for 2027, Dresser said.

See the presentation on pages 1-10 of the presentation materials. Listen to the discussion at 21:40 on the commission audio.

— Heard from Cultural Resources Manager Brett Lenz that the Wanapum have received a new motorhome to convert into a new Wanapum Discovery Unit mobile museum. The new unit will replace the existing one, which dates to 1999, is worn and in need of repairs. The $164,000 new unit is a 2022 Jayco Precept 36A, which will have more room for displays and better foot traffic. Lenz added that:

  • He and his team monitored 213 archaeological sites this year.
  • The Wanapum are working on an assessment that details the impacts to their community from the now-complete construction on a concrete secondary embankment on the Yakima County side of Priest Rapids Dam, as well as an upcoming project to anchor the dam’s spillway more securely to bedrock. Grant PUD will work with the Wanapum to mitigate for any identified impacts, Lenz said.

See the presentation on pages 11-19 of the presentation materials. Listen to the discussion at 53:06 on the commission audio.

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Commission recap, 8/22/2023 — Sturgeon Electric wins contract for Quincy transmission line work. More...

Auburn-based Sturgeon Electric was the lowest of five bidders on a two-transmission-line project to power two new substations in Quincy, commissioners learned Tuesday, before unanimously approving the contract.

The company’s bid of just over $1 million was the only bid below Grant PUD’s engineer’s estimate of $1.2 million to build transmission to connect the West Canal and Quincy Foothills substations, currently under construction about five miles east of downtown Quincy, Project Manager Matt Moots told the commission.

Both new transmission lines would be energized by the existing Quincy Plains Substation on Road 11 NW.

The line to feed the Quincy Foothills Substation would head east to a farm road and then north to the substation jobsite, which is tucked amid cultivated fields. The contract involves installing one steel pole and 13 provisional wood poles and stringing and connecting the line. The wood poles would eventually be removed as other work continues to expand Quincy’s existing transmission network.

The line to feed the West Canal substation will also head east to the farm road but then jog south to the substation jobsite over 10 steel poles.

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Commission recap, 8/8/2023 — Rate increase proposed. Power quality on the rise. More...


Grant PUD working proactively to improve power quality throughout county

Grant PUD is developing a proactive approach to ensure that customers throughout Grant County have power quality that meets high industry standards.
 

Ron Alexander, managing director of Power Delivery, told Grant PUD’s commissioners during their meeting on Tuesday, Aug. 8, that his team has been working to identify places where power quality presents opportunities for us to improve.


He explained that alternating current power, which energizes the Grant PUD grid, can develop situations where the voltage is lower at the tail end of a circuit than at the head end. Low voltage causes current to rise to meet the power requirements [P (power) = I (current) x E (voltage] for electrical devices connected to the circuit. This can cause overheating and damage to those devices and the circuit. Often power quality issues happen on long sections of power lines that do not have voltage-regulating equipment installed and were designed many years ago, said Alexander. He added that growing power usage on long distribution lines that were originally built for smaller loads is exacerbating this problem. 

One of the other issues the power quality efforts are highlighting is the need to share information with irrigators. 

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Commission recap, 7/25/2023 — Grant PUD to seek federal funding for anchoring work at Priest Rapids Dam

Grant PUD to seek federal funding for anchoring work at Priest Rapids Dam

Grant PUD will seek $5 million in federal dam safety-funding to help cover a long-anticipated $38-$45 million project to anchor the spillway at Priest Rapids Dam more solidly to bedrock for added seismic strength.

The project is a smaller-scale version of work completed 22 miles up the Columbia River at Wanapum Dam in 2014 and 2015, Senior Manager of Power Production Dale Campbell told commissioners Tuesday in a quarterly business update.

A contractor will install post-tension strand anchors across the entire length of the dam’s spillway. Priest Rapids will require less anchoring than Wanapum did — two post tension anchors per spillway section versus the three per section at Wanapum. Wanapum also required additional bar anchors that are not needed at Priest Rapids. The same type of anchors used at Wanapum Dam will be used at Priest Rapids Dam.

Priest Rapids Dam leaks through some of the “lift joints” between pourings of concrete. The 65-year-old structure is safe and stable but isn’t heavy enough to adequately hold back the Columbia River to modern standards without additional anchoring.

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Commission recap, 7/11/2023 — Root damaged fixed on Crescent Bar pedestrian trail

Crescent Bar trail repair More than 250 feet of pedestrian trail have been repaired on Crescent Bar to remove damage caused mostly by invasive roots.

More than 250 feet of pedestrian trail, damaged primarily by tree roots, were repaired and blanketed with a smooth new asphalt surface on Crescent Bar Island.

The roots from aging poplar trees that line the island’s golf course had pushed the asphalt trail up from below, creating ripples. Crews removed six poplar trees that caused the damage after an arborist assessment indicated that the trees have a remaining lifespan of about five years.

Grant PUD staff are weighing whether to replant other tree species with less-damaging root systems, Shannon Lowry, manager of License Compliance and Lands Services, told commissioners as part of her department’s third-quarter business report.

Other third-quarter accomplishments include:

  • A successful meeting with the county’s fire and sheriff’s officials and LiveNation staff to coordinate security efforts at Grant PUD recreation areas along the Columbia River during the busy, summer visitor season and on concert weekends at the Gorge Amphitheatre in nearby George.
  • Completed 192 surveys since mid-June to hear what visitors to Grant PUD recreation areas think about their experience there. Lowry said her team is on track to collect 700-800 surveys by mid-September. The team will use the data to evaluate its recreation operations and maintenance and capital development programs going forward.
  • Inspection of all 19 Grant PUD recreation areas to prepare for a federal compliance inspection, Aug. 8-10. Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) inspectors will examine each rec area and other areas within the Priest Rapids Project for adequate infrastructure, public access and safety, and implementation of license-required activities.
  • Continue studying environmentally safe, effective ways to control mosquitoes and the aquatic weed, “milfoil,” in and around boat launches and designated swim areas to potentially deploy next year.
  • Continue efforts to freshen and repair exhibits in the Wanapum Visitor Center, which fell into disrepair during the COVID pandemic closure.

See the full presentation on pages 1-13 of the presentation materials. Hear the full discussion at 30:18 on the commission audio.

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Commission recap, 6/27/2023 — Engineers address customer requests for alternate Quincy transmission route. More...

 

Engineers address customer requests for alternate Quincy transmission route

Engineers Randy Kono and Angel Barahona-Sanchez explained to the commissioners why the Jericho Tap 115 kilovolt line extending from Jericho Substation at the intersection of Beverly Burke Road and Highway 26 to a junction on Frenchman Hills near Road O SW was not selected as part of the planned route for the Wanapum-to-Mountain View 230 kilovolt (kV) transmission line project. 

Customers have insisted that Grant PUD consider this alternate route and have awaited an explanation about why engineers rejected it over the preferred route 4b shown here.

Kono explained that the route was considered in the initial evaluation process, but it was not selected because of the following reasons. Building adjacent to Jericho Tap did not appear practical due to the center pivots and other agricultural practices surrounding a significant portion of the existing line.

Rebuilding the Jericho Tap for a combined 115kV and 230kV circuit would require a significant outage to the Jericho Substation. Over 500 customers are sourced from Jericho Substation including a USBR Pumping Site. The option would have been the longest option and travel further east than all other options. It would have a bare minimum distance along existing road right-of-way providing less direct access from established roadways for construction and future maintenance.  

Kono added that the existing easement for the Jericho Tap is only for one circuit. Adding a new circuit would need to be negotiated with the landowners on the Jericho Tap easement.  

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Commission highlights, 6/13/2023 — Rex Buck Jr. honored


The Buck Family joined Grant PUD commissioners for a tribute to late Wanapum leader Rex Buck Jr. Sitting Floor Center: Rex “Tiny” Buck IV. Sitting Chairs Left to Right: Sunsky Buck, Ruth Jim, Angela Buck, Lela Buck holding Elias Corral, Nikkia Owlchild. Standing Left to Right: Clarice Paul, Lightning Paul, Katrina Buck, Kenny Mathias, Rex Buck III, CommissinerTom Flint, River Buck, Commissioner Judy Wilson, Commissioner Nelson Cox, Clayton Buck, Commissioner Larry Schaapman, Tasha Bailey, Commissioner Terry Pyle, Alyssa Buck, Emilee Maurice.





Rex Buck Jr. remembered, honored for a life of education, service and smiles

Commissioners unanimously memorialized late Wanapum leader Rex “Puck Hyah Toot” Buck, Jr. in an emotional tribute that included the large and growing Buck family and friends. Rex died Feb. 11, 2022. The resolution marks the end of the Wanapum’s traditional year of respect following the death of a tribal member.

Rex’s son Clayton Buck read Resolution 9021 aloud, honoring his father and reaffirming the connection between the Wanapum of Priest Rapids and Grant PUD. Since 1953 the “sacred bond between the Wanapum and Grant PUD nourishes a relationship built on integrity, trust, and honor,” he read.

Other members of the Buck family, as well as commissioners and Grant PUD staff shared their memories of Rex.

Rex dedicated his entire adult life to protection, preservation and perpetuation of Wanapum culture. His family, including his wife Angela all the way down to his new grandson was present for the reading. They spoke through their emotions about Rex’s lasting legacy, marked by his “smile, laughter, wisdom and willingness to share the culture and history of the Wanapum with not only Grant PUD but all that had an open heart and mind to listen.” Read the full resolution on page 303 of the commission packet. Hear the discussion at 2:16:55 on the commission audio.

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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.

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Commission highlights, 5/9/2023


$75 million package of electric system upgrades nears completion

An approximately $75 million package of electric-system upgrades over 10 sites around Grant County will be complete by late next year to reduce outage times and increase the electric supply for residential, businesses and industrial growth.

Grant PUD Project Manager David Klinkenberg gave commissioners an update Tuesday.

The projects, which are known collectively as “Design Build 2,” include five new substations, upgrades to existing substations and the new, 10-mile, 115 kV Red Rock transmission line to increase the electric supply to Royal City.

Six of the 10 projects are more than 60% complete. Four are already energized and serving customers in the Quincy, George and Royal City areas.

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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:

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

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:

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