The following is a report of the Douglas County Public Utility District Commission meeting that was held on October 8, 2001.
Held the final budget hearings for the Distribution System and the Wells Hydroelectric Project. The Distribution System budget is for the calendar year 2002 while the Wells Project budget covers the September 1, 2001 through August 31, 2002 fiscal year. Both budgets were approved.
Purchased power for the Distribution System Operating Budget for 2002 is estimated at $21,001,000, down approximately $241,000 from the 2001 estimate. Administration and general expenses are up approximately $155,000 from last year’s estimate and taxes are estimated to decline by approximately $354,000. The Distribution System Capital Budget of $11,459,000 for 2002 includes approximately $6.3 million for electric system additions and improvements, $3.66 million for the Douglas County Community Network, and $1.48 million for vehicles and equipment. The total revenue estimate of $34,859,000 is an increase of $2,029,000 over the 2001 budget and includes a rate increase that was previously approved on March 18, 1996 and has been deferred each year thereafter. If allowed to go into effect, the rate increase would account for about one-fourth of the budgeted revenue increase.
At $33,403,000, the total Wells Hydroelectric Project Operation Budget amounts to a 2.1% increase from last year’s estimate. The Wells Project Revenue Budget estimate is equal to the Operation Budget as required by contract. The Wells Project Capital Budget totals $2,714,100. Major items include replacement of station service breakers at Wells Dam, replacement of five 230-kilovolt power circuit breakers at Wells Dam and development of a purchasing, accounts payable and material inventory management system.
Approved the environmental reviews for the 2002 Distribution System Budget and the 2001-02 Wells Project Budget. As required by the Washington State Environmental Policy Act, all state and local agencies are to consider the environmental values of their actions.
Approved a change order to the telephone system upgrade contract with Cerium Networks. This change order is in the amount of $18,198 and will add 10 wireless phones to be used by employees on the East Wenatchee campus. These phones will allow employees to be more productive when their duties cause them to be working away from their desks.
Authorized participation in filing an amicus brief in support of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) regarding the challenge by conservation groups of FERC’s position on ongoing hydro operations . The challenge is to the interpretation of section 7 (a) (2) of the Endangered Species Act. FERC interprets that section to mean that ongoing project operations do not constitute “agency Action,” triggering consultation with the US Fish and Wildlife Service or National Marine Fisheries Service. Douglas PUD’s participation is not to exceed $3,000.