Grays Harbor PUD Commissioners formally adopt strategic plan

The Grays Harbor PUD Board of Commissioners have adopted a new vision of the PUD’s future.  On Monday, the commissioners adopted the District’s first strategic plan, outlining the goals and steps the PUD will take in the coming years to improve several areas of internal and external service.

 

“It’s a big moment and one that was achieved by tapping the minds of our employees,” said Commission President Russ Skolrood.  “We all have ideas about how we can improve as a district, but for the first time, the people that work at the Grays Harbor PUD were asked to be involved in the creation of that vision. That is significant.”

 

Over the last five months, employee groups have been meeting to discuss the PUD’s development and future plans in six areas:

 

·         Customers

·         Finance

·         Employees

·         Safety and Reliability

·         Process and Performance Improvements

·         Stewardship

The sub-groups were made up of PUD employees from across the district, from line crewmen to customer support staff.  Meetings involved discussing PUD strengths and weaknesses in those sub-areas, identifying both short-term and long-term goals and planning the steps needed to achieve those goals.  Those goals included:

 

·         Improved internal and external outreach and communication.

·         Providing stable rates and responsible budgeting.

·         Maintaining system safety and reliability.

·         Addressing employee pride, retention and development.

·         Improved processes and organizational performances.

·         Long-term facilities plans and asset management.

 

The plan will be reviewed quarterly to ensure that established goals are being met and that updates are made to keep up with the times.

 

“I am very proud of this milestone moment for the employees and customers of the Grays Harbor PUD.  This is not the vision of one person or one department but of the entire PUD,” said General Manager Dave Ward.  “In placing such a high emphasis on staff involvement, we have produced a plan that is a true representation of the PUD’s goals and desire to move toward a bright future.”

Grays Harbor PUD announces planned outage in Cedarville-Oakville

The Grays Harbor Public Utility District has announced a planned power outage which will impact PUD customers in the Cedarville-Oakville area of East Grays Harbor County.  The outage will begin at 6:00 PM on July 24, 2014 and is expected to last until 6:00 AM on July 25.

During the outage, multiple PUD crews will undertake maintenance work on transmission lines, including the replacement of several deteriorating power poles.

The outage will impact over 1600 Grays Harbor PUD customers, including those on SR 12 from Porter, east to the Grays Harbor-Thurston County line, including all residents of Porter and Oakville.  The outage will also impact all PUD customers on the South Bank Road south of the 200 block, the Dunlap Road, Elma Gate Road, all homes on and roads served by the Capital Ridge, Garrard Creek and Delezene Roads and residents of the Chehalis Reservation west of Anderson Road.

In preparation for this outage, customers are advised to take precautions with any electronic equipment such as computers, televisions, and microwaves by unplugging those items.  You should leave them disconnected until after the power has been fully restored.

The outage time of twelve hours is only an estimate and power could be restored at anytime as work is completed.  Therefore, it is not safe to do electrical work or repairs during that period of time.

PUD Commissioners to consider 1.5% rate increase at next meeting

The Grays Harbor PUD Board of Commissioners will consider an increase in customer rates at their regularly scheduled meeting on July 21, 2014.  The 1.5% increase will go into effect on August 1.

The need for the increase is driven by rising operational costs, especially an increase in power costs from the Bonneville Power Administration .  The PUD had expected an increase of 1.75%, however budget adjustments allowed the increase to be lowered by a quarter-percent.

“I really appreciate the work put in by the staff to make this increase as small as possible.  Thanks to some pencil sharpening, we were able to find a little room to ease the impact on our customers,” said Board of Commissioners President Russ Skolrood.  “Providing safe and reliable power to our customers is the most important job we have.  It’s our responsibility to do it at the lowest practical cost.”

The change is part of an increase approved last December as part of the 2014 budget.  However, the commissioners agreed to postpone a portion of the increase to help move the District away from winter increases to a time when bills are lower and household expenses are not as high.

Outage impacting some in Aberdeen Hoquiam caused by construction incident

 

Power has been restored to customers in West Aberdeen after an outage impacted roughly 669 customers and lasted about 35 minutes Wednesday afternoon. The Grays Harbor PUD reports crews were able to quickly find the cause of the outage and restored power at around 2:50PM.

The outage was reported at 2:15 on Wednesday afternoon and is impacting large areas of Simpson and Sumner Avenues, Fifth Street and Cherry Street.  Those impacted included Swanson’s, Duffy’s,  the Pearsall Building and surrounding residential areas.  

The Grays Harbor PUD reports the outage impacting roughly 669 customers in West Aberdeen was apparently caused by an incident at the intersection of Simpson and Williams.   A construction crew reportedly backed into a power pole and knocked down a transformer.  Crews hope to have completed repairs in about one hour.

 

In the event of an outage at an intersection drivers are reminded to treat intersections without working traffic lights as four-way stops.

Grays Harbor PUD announces planned outage in Cedarville-Oakville

The Grays Harbor Public Utility District has announced a planned power outage which will impact PUD customers in the Cedarville-Oakville area of East Grays Harbor County.  The outage will begin at 6:00 PM on July 24, 2014 and is expected to last until 6:00 AM on July 25.

 

During the outage, multiple PUD crews will undertake maintenance work on transmission lines, including the replacement of several deteriorating power poles.

 

The outage will impact over 1600 Grays Harbor PUD customers, including those on SR 12 from Porter, east to the Grays Harbor-Thurston County line, including all residents of Porter and Oakville.  The outage will also impact all PUD customers on the South Bank Road south of the 200 block, the Dunlap Road, Elma Gate Road, all homes on and roads served by the Capital Ridge, Garrard Creek and Delezene Roads and residents of the Chehalis Reservation west of Anderson Road.

 

In preparation for this outage, customers are advised to take precautions with any electronic equipment such as computers, televisions, and microwaves by unplugging those items.  You should leave them disconnected until after the power has been fully restored.

 

The outage time of twelve hours is only an estimate and power could be restored at any time as work is completed.  Therefore, it is not safe to do electrical work or repairs during that period of time.

Grays Harbor PUD receives 14th consecutive clean audit from state

An examination by the Washington State Auditor has produced a 14th consecutive clean audit for the Grays Harbor PUD.

In the Exit Conference held on Monday, representatives of the Washington State Auditor’s office reported that the “District’s internal controls were adequate to safeguard public assets.”  The report also found that the District has complied with state laws and regulations and its own policies and procedures.

“This report is the result of the excellent work of every person who works for the Grays Harbor PUD,” said Commission Board President Russ Skolrood.  “Our customers expect and deserve a well-run and responsible Public Utility District and this report is evidence that we continue to provide that to them.”

The PUD is audited by the state annually.  The 2014 examination covered Jan. 1, 2013 to Dec. 31, 2013 and examined the following areas:

 

  • Open public meetings
  • Utility account adjustments
  • General revenue/expenses
  • Procurement
  • Key system controls
  • General disbursements
  • On-call contracting
  • Discount program
  • Bond covenants
  • Payroll

The audit report also credited the PUD for its record of clean audit reports, saying “they reflect the District’s commitment to maintain a strong financial system with sufficient internal controls.”

No injuries after SUV drives into sign at Farmers Market in Hoquiam

A man told officers he must have fallen asleep before his vehicle drove into the portable sign at the Farmer’s Market on State Route 101 yesterday afternoon. Hoquiam Sgt Brian Dayton tells us his 2000 Ford Escape drove through the sign, and came to rest on a the guide wire for a nearby power pole just after 4 Tuesday afternoon. The Grays Harbor PUD was called to repair the damaged guide wire.
The 38 year old Hoquiam man said he was on his way home from work and might have dozed off, he didn’t remember negotiating the curve. Dayton said no drugs or alcohol were thought to be involved, the man told officers he suffers from a medical issue that can cause vertigo.

Salvage agreement saves Grays Harbor PUD $75,000

The Grays Harbor PUD says they continue to find ways to meet their responsibility to clean a portion of the Harbor Paper mill site with the smallest possible financial impact.

On Wednesday, the PUD commissioners authorized the district to enter into a contract with Hero Demolition Corporation for the demolition and removal of the buildings and equipment that make-up the facilities wastewater treatment plant.  The cost of the demolition will be covered by an agreement under which Hero Demolition will take possession of and remove all salvageable materials.

“The Grays Harbor PUD is committed to cleaning its share of the Harbor Paper site in a way that is responsible to both our customers and the environment,” said Commission President Russ Skolrood.  “This agreement meets that commitment.  We are working with a contractor who will not only demolish the wastewater facility, but will also remove the remaining material.  That lowers the cost by thousands of dollars.”

By allowing Hero Demolition to retain all the salvageable material, the PUD will save an estimated $75-thousand.  The demolition work will include the removal of all the wastewater treatment facilities buildings and structures, including the primary clarifier, three secondary clarifiers, solids pumping station building, secondary treatment pump house, and the aeration blower building.  The company will also remove all mechanical equipment, piping, electrical, roofing, siding, and wood materials.

Under its agreement with Rayonier Properties, LLC, the PUD is obligated to clean and remove the facility’s water treatment system and remove solid byproducts including piles of bark/rock mixture, sand ash and boiler grate material.  PUD staff is working to fulfill those responsibilities in a way that meets their obligations while having the least possible impact on the PUD’s customers.

Grays Harbor PUD partners with City of Hoquiam to begin cleanup at Harbor Paper

The Grays Harbor PUD has taken a significant step to fulfill its responsibilities to clean and remove bi-products from the former Harbor Paper mill site.  In the next three weeks, over 28-million gallons of treated water will be pumped from holding basins at the Harbor Paper facility into the City of Hoquiam’s sewage treatment system.

In cooperation with the City of Hoquiam, 775 feet of eight-inch high density pipe is now connecting the facility’s secondary treatment pump house with the city’s sanitary sewer system.  Gradually, water from the facility’s aeration basin, primary clarifier and secondary clarifiers will be pumped into the city’s treatment system for disposal.

“We are grateful to the City of Hoquiam for their assistance in helping the PUD move forward with its responsibilities at the Harbor Paper site,” said PUD General Manager Dave Ward.  “We have a responsibility to clean our share of the site, but our first responsibility is to our ratepayers, to ensure that the project is completed at the lowest possible cost.  With the help of the city, we are meeting both obligations.”

The 28.25 million gallons of water represents the last water to be treated at the Harbor Paper facility.  Prior to the elimination of electrical services at the facility in September of 2013, the system was flushed over a seven-day period to remove any organic materials.  The water now held in the basin and clarifiers has been tested by the City of Hoquiam and found to be essentially free of contaminants.

The removal of water from the Harbor Paper site is the first significant step in the PUD’s clean-up of products accumulated over the past 20 years of paper production.  Under its agreement with Rayonier Properties, LLC, the PUD is obligated to clean and remove the facility’s water treatment system and remove solid bi-products including piles of bark/rock mixture, sand ash and  boiler grate material.  PUD staff is working to fulfill those responsibilities in a way that meets their obligations while having the least possible impact on the PUD’s customers.

Grays Harbor PUD says customers still getting scam phone calls

A phone scam in which Grays Harbor Public Utility District customers are targeted concerning overdue bills is continuing. Over the weekend, four Grays Harbor businesses reported receiving phone calls in which representatives claiming to work for the PUD aggressively demanded immediate payment on accounts they claimed were past due.
“This is an ongoing problem that our customers need to be aware of. If you receive an unsolicited phone call from a person claiming to work for the PUD and demanding money, do not under any circumstances assume that they are telling the truth and hand over financial information without checking with PUD Customer Service first,” said PUD General Manager Dave Ward.
PUD customers and local media were notified of a similar phone scam in February in which residential customers were contacted. Local law enforcement agencies have also reported a number of phone and mail scams in which the perpetrators demand money while threatening to cut off services.
Recipients of such fraudulent calls and mailings are advised to first contact company officials to verify the claim and to contact the office of your local law enforcement agency.