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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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Commission recap, 4/11/2023 — Grant PUD recreation-area visitor survey to launch in May

 Grant PUD recreation-area visitor survey to launch in May Grant PUD employees will fan out this summer to gather feedback, face-to-face, from the true experts in the utility's 19 Columbia River recreation areas — the 500,000 visitors who camp, fish, picnic, swim, golf or otherwise enjoy them. Manager of License Compliance and Lands Services S...

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Grant PUD and Obsidian Renewables to collaborate on developing hydrogen plant

Grant PUD and Obsidian Renewables announced a Joint Development Agreement for a hydrogen solution on April 6, 2023. Download PDF File Here

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Pyper, Ehrman fill top-management posts at Grant PUD

 Proven managers, skilled leaders and longtime employees Julie Pyper and Ty Ehrman have joined Grant PUD's executive management team. Pyper serves as Chief Administrative Officer and Ehrman as the Chief Customer Officer. "Julie's and Ty's skills and expertise will continue to be on full display, and we are excited to see them deliver positive ...

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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 su...

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Commission recap 2/28/2023

At their Feb. 28 meeting, Grant PUD commissioners: — Received an update from the Enterprise Project Management Office on the latest successes, that include: Additional training/certification for project-management staff members. The upgrades on the fifth turbine/generator unit at Priest Rapids Dam are ahead of schedule due to clear communication an...

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Commission recap, 2/14/2023 — Grant PUD studying bill that would regulate service cut-offs. More...

Grant PUD and other utility companies throughout the state are closely monitoring House Bill 1329 and Senate Bill 5366 as they move through the state legislature. The companion bills establish statewide protections against power and water disconnects for non-payment during high heat days and were introduced to the legislature at the request of the ...

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Grant PUD Announces Fiber build-out areas for 2023

EPHRATA – Grant PUD will expand its high-speed, fiber-optic telecommunication service to more than 1,400 customers in 2023 as part of a county-wide buildout project. The areas slated for fiber buildout include: Warden Area Completion (Part of the 2022 delayed by supply issues, weather and permits.) Rural area north, east and south of Quincy (Part o...

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Commission recap, 1/24/2023 — Grant PUD continues to weigh options to increase power supply. More...

As Grant County continues to grow, so does the demand for power. A team from Grant PUD, led by Chief Resource Officer Kevin Nordt, has been working on a plan for when power needs exceed the projected output from the utility's dams and other resources. Grant PUD expects that it will need to regularly blend in new power resources as early as 2025 dur...

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Commission recap, 2/14/2023 — Grant PUD studying bill that would regulate service cut-offs. More...

Commissioners Nelson Cox and Terry Pyle sworn in for new terms Grant County Superior Court Judge Tyson Hill was on hand in Grant PUD's Ephrata commission room Tuesday to officially swear-in newly re-elected Commissioner Nelson Cox to a second, four-year term on the commission and Commissioner Terry Pyle to his first popularly elected six-year term....

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Commission recap 1/10/2023 -- Commissioners Nelson Cox and Terry Pyle sworn in for new terms


Grant County Superior Court Judge Tyson Hill was on hand in Grant PUD’s Ephrata commission room Tuesday to officially swear-in newly re-elected Commissioner Nelson Cox to a second, four-year term on the commission and Commissioner Terry Pyle to his first popularly elected six-year term.

Cox, a retired potato farmer from Warden, represents District B-At Large. Pyle was appointed by commissioners in October 2021 to fill the remainder of the then-vacant District 2 position. Voters in November gave Pyle another six years. Pyle teaches business and economics courses at Big Bend Community College.

Commissioners chose board officers at their Dec. 15, 2022 meeting. This year, Commissioner Cox will be board president, Commissioner Tom Flint, vice president and Commissioner Terry Pyle, secretary. Commissioners Larry Schaapman and Judy Wilson round out the board.

Hear the swearing-in at 2:52:37 on the commission audio.


Recreation visitors survey back this year after COVID hiatus

Grant PUD is again launching its in-person survey of visitors to the utility’s Columbia River-recreation areas to gauge visitor satisfaction with amenities and overall experience.

“This is very, very useful date for us,” Manager of License Compliance & Lands Services Shannon Lowry told commissioners Tuesday of the survey.

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

New rate will add approximately $3.24 to the monthly household bill


EPHRATA — In a measure to help Grant PUD withstand the impact of inflation, Grant PUD's commissioners on Dec. 13 approved a plan for new electricity rates in 2023. The new rates take effect April 1.

This is the first power rate increase for Grant PUD customers since 2018. The overall increase of 3% will be allocated partly on Grant PUD's cost to serve each rate group. The 3% increase and careful financial planning will help the utility withstand the 8.7% impact of inflation to its 2023 budget, which was approved by commissioners in November.

The new rates mean a typical residential customer using 1,700 kilowatt-hours in a month will pay an additional $3.24 a month. By comparison, a large industrial customer with an average monthly usage of 20 million-kilowatt hours would see an increase of $12,600 a month.

"No one likes rising costs," stated commission President Judy Wilson after the meeting. "This increase is necessary for us to try to keep pace with inflation while at the same time continuing to provide our vital services to our growing county."

Grant PUD's proposed all-in Residential power rate of 5.8 cents per kilowatt hour is much lower than the average Washington residential rate of 10.19 cents per kilowatt-hour and the average United States rate of 14.88 cents per kilowatt-hour.

Each rate will increase by the following percentage:

Customer type                                                              % increase
Residential (1)……………………..........................………………. 3.40
General Service (2)………………………………………………..……. 3.40
Irrigation (3)………………………………………………..……………… 3.40
Street lighting (6)…..……….…………………………....……………. 3.40
Large General (7)……………………………………..…………......... 3.40
Industrial (14)……………………………………………..……….…….. 4.35
Large Industrial (15)………………………………………..………….. 1.75
Agricultural Food Processing (16).………………..……..……….. 4.35
Agricultural Food Processing Boiler (85)………..….……....….. 4.35



Desplázase hacia abajo para leer en español el susodicho acerca del incremento de las tarifas eléctricas

Commissioners also:

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