Manager’s Message

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Manager’s Report — May 2020

Stay Safe

Roger Kline“Stay safe” is one of the core values in the utility and energy sector. It is integral to our work and a tenet stitched into the fabric of what we do. Today, that message means so much more than it may have for any of us in recent memory.

More than 90% of Americans are under statewide stay-at-home orders, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has advised all Americans to stay home as much as possible to reduce your risk of being exposed.

Here in Oregon, we “Stay home, stay safe.” As we all adhere to and process the day-to-day effects of this new reality, it is increasingly important that people have seamless access to electricity—the essence of almost all modern activities.

Here at Northern Wasco County PUD, we are monitoring this situation closely. We are powering the lights, phones, televisions, computers, refrigerators, heating and cooling systems that we all depend on to get our information, communicate with loved ones and live our lives. We also are powering essential businesses such as the hospital, grocery stores, communications centers and other critical infrastructure. We are embedded in the regional unified incident command system to ensure we can support the communities we serve in the best possible manner. We are here to help.

Thankfully, we already had taken steps to modernize our critical infrastructure to ensure the safe provision of electric service. Maintaining the operational integrity of our systems is vital to safeguard the public’s health, safety and welfare during this time.

Your board of directors has postponed the previously approved 3.8% rate increase for one year. The board has supported the suspension of service disconnects for nonpayment and the non-assessment of late charges for the duration of this emergency. NWCPUD is committed to working with everyone to ensure the safe and reliable provision of electric service. We want you to stay home and stay safe with electric service.

None of this work happens without the excellent staff and contractor community that support the PUD. I am thankful for the dedicated professionals we have here. They are the motivation and energy that keeps the PUD working behind the scenes. Thank them yourself when you get the chance—from a safe distance.

Thank you for your patience and understanding as we all persevere through the COVID-19 pandemic together.

As always, stay safe!

Roger Kline
General Manager

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Celebrate Lineworker Appreciation Day on April 18

Outline of a lineworker working on a powerlineNo matter what Mother Nature has in store, Northern Wasco County PUD lineworkers are ready to answer the call, ensuring you have the safe, reliable power you depend on. Our local communities are brighter, safer and stronger because of the selfless sacrifices of these unsung heroes. Remember: When you find yourself in the dark, we’ve got your back!

Today and every day, let’s thank electric lineworkers for powering our lives.

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Manager’s Report — March 2020

Columbia River System Operations – Draft Environmental Impact Statement

Roger KlineBy the time this issue of Ruralite gets to your mailbox, the region should have received the draft results of the Columbia River System operations environmental impact statement. The DEIS documents the evaluation of the impacts of the long- term coordinated water management functions for the operation, maintenance, and configuration of the 14 federal dam and reservoir projects that comprise the federal Columbia River System.

The DEIS is developed in accordance with the National Environmental Policy Act in response to the need to review and update the management of this system. This includes evaluating impacts to resources in the context of new information and changed conditions in the Columbia River basin. Information from this process will inform future decisions and allow for a flexible approach to meeting multiple responsibilities and complying with all applicable laws.

The co-lead agencies—the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, U.S. Bureau of Reclamation and Bonneville Power Administration—considered input from the public and tribal, state and local governments obtained during the scoping period and input from cooperating agencies during the development of the DEIS. The agencies applied screening criteria, such as technical feasibility, to develop a reasonable range of alternatives that meet EIS objectives and balance the multiple purposes of the 14 projects. Details of the evaluation, including a preferred alternative, will be available for review in the DEIS.

More than 90% of your electricity is provided by the output of this federal system of dams. Our local economy and community are connected to the river for cultural, agriculture, transportation, recreation, economic and an abundance of other benefits we appreciate here in the Gorge and the Pacific Northwest. In this, we are all connected. Please consider participating in the public comment process to ensure all the region is heard. Passionate and well-funded special interest groups continue to attempt to sway public opinion away from the benefits of the federal system and the carbon-free, flexible, reliable and low-cost attributes of hydroelectricity.

Let me be clear on this next point: A “preferred alternative” or eventual, future state outcome is expected from the DEIS. This outcome will likely change the way the federal system is operated or perhaps even physically constructed. Also—and likely most importantly—whatever the outcome, Northern Wasco County PUD will have a plan for addressing it and a path forward ensuring our continued success. Many thanks to the board of directors for its support in this area.

Lastly, NWCPUD is a member of Northwest RiverPartners. Please visit the Northwest RiverPartners website to learn more about the benefits of hydroelectricity and its role in our clean energy future. Full disclosure: I am also on the board of directors, so I really think they’re great!

Roger Kline
General Manager

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Manager’s Report — February 2020

Carbon Policy, Cap and Trade. Here We Go Again.

Roger KlineLawmakers in Salem are again attempting to pass a bill that would make Oregon the second state after California to adopt an economywide cap-and-trade system to regulate greenhouse gas emissions.

The bill has support from Gov. Kate Brown and the state house’s other top Democrats, but even its champions are treading carefully to protect the state’s economy as they aim to address climate change. Last session’s walkout by Republicans as well as the #TimberUnity efforts are clear examples as to why more thought had to be put into this legislation.

The proposed legislation has evolved yet again from an earlier version of cap-and-trade legislation known as the Clean Energy Jobs bill that lawmakers considered but failed to pass during a previous session.

As a reminder, the largest source of carbon emissions in Oregon isn’t the power sector, but the transportation sector. The overwhelming majority of your electricity is provided by near zero-carbon sources. Please see sources to learn more. Similarly, if you are considering a switch to an electric vehicle, please know our rates are favorable to charge that vehicle with carbon-free energy. We offer rebates on home- charging infrastructure and information to help with your decision at

Northern Wasco County PUD is monitoring what cap-and-trade legislation could mean to the power sector and the overall economy in our region. We are optimistic there would not be unintended financial consequences to our community and stand ready to participate in the legislative process to ensure your consumer-owned electric service utility and our community isn’t negatively impacted.

Stay warm and stay safe,

Roger Kline
General Manager

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Manager’s Report — January 2020

Neighbors Helping Neighbors

Roger KlineAs we begin this new year, please remember cold weather tends to increase your electrical consumption and your PUD bills. Please also remember, we have friends and neighbors who can use our help.

We understand the cost per unit of measurement — kilowatt hours — is only one aspect. The amount of energy used via energy consumption is what can make an energy bill larger from one season to the next. That is why we work hard to provide opportunities for energy conservation. We will soon offer other options such as prepay to help our customer-owners in need.

Another way we help those is need is through our Neighbor to Neighbor program. This program gives a helping hand to customers who are struggling to pay their electric bills. One hundred percent of customer donations stays in our community!

Eligible households who do not qualify for other state or federal assistance may receive up to $125 in a 12-month period. Eligibility is established according to federally defined poverty levels. Verification of eligibility is determined by the Mid-Columbia Community Action Partnership.

You can sign up to have a small monthly contribution of $1, $2 or $5 automatically added to your bill each month, or you can make your contribution on a separate check made payable to “Neighbor to Neighbor.” All contributions are tax deductible.

Please consider joining me in supporting some of our fellow community members in this manner.

Thank you,

Roger Kline
General Manager

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Manager’s Report — December 2019


Roger KlineAs the seasonal tune goes, the weather outside is—or can be— frightful. What isn’t frightful is the reliability of your electric service, and the resilience of the infrastructure and teams that provide it for you every day.

As I reflect on the past year and look forward to the year ahead, I am most appreciative of the people I have the pleasure of working with and serving every day.

Your people’s utility district is governed by a dedicated and compassionate board of directors. The policy and regional work they support and participate in has provided us a positive vision for the future. The performance indicators they monitor continue to illustrate the excellence of the district. We accomplish all of this work on your behalf safely and with the utmost dedication. Of that, I am very proud and appreciative.

Consider this my usual plug for energy audits and conservation measures as well. We strive to have programs everyone can use to lower their energy consumption and bills. Energy consumption—the amount you use—drives the amount of your bill. We strive to work with every customer, if the need arises, to make payment arrangements or support in that manner. Please communicate with us during times of need. We want you to be safe and warm in your homes and businesses.

Best to all and happy holidays,

Roger Kline
General Manager

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Manager’s Report — November 2019

Continued Excellence

Roger KlineOne year ago, your board of directors accepted my recommendation to adopt a new strategic plan for Northern Wasco County PUD. The plan retargeted our efforts for the next 10 years, and allowed the district to continue to position itself and our community for a successful energy future. Progress is being made on the plan’s objectives. We continue to show excellent results in our areas of focus as measured by key performance indicators. The strategic plan, the quarterly organizational performance dashboards and many other items are available at under “About Us” or “Meetings & Agendas.”

The electric service and utility industry is ever-changing, as are the types of services you, our customer-owners, desire. From smart home devices, weatherization and energy conservation to electric vehicles and low-income programs, we are here for everyone. We want everyone to be satisfied, and for the electricity to be there when you need and want it.

By the time this arrives in your mailboxes, we will have substantially completed our advanced meter installation project. The ability to provide you with more granular energy- consumption data will be helpful for both the utility and you, the customer.

If you haven’t heard yet, you can now directly interact with us via an app. Search for NWCPUD in whichever app platform you use. The information offered via this platform will expand, as will the customer web portal. Bill pay, outage information and energy consumption, as well as direct interaction with us, will continue to evolve and improve. We are excited to finally offer this channel and tools. Thank you for your patience as we modernize technology and infrastructure. It’s all connected!

Please visit us at NWCPUD’s next monthly public board of directors meeting to learn more about what we are doing. Meetings are at the NWCPUD offices the first Tuesday of every month at 6 p.m.

Best to all. Stay safe and stay warm!

Roger Kline
General Manager

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Manager’s Report — October 2019

Public Power: The Community-owned Advantage

Roger KlineNorthern Wasco County People’s Utility District (PUD) is one of more than 2,000 public power utilities that help power the lives of more than 48 million people across the country.

There are many reasons why you, our customers, continue to own and operate your own electric utility. Since our founding in 1939, and delivering our first electron of service in 1949, Northern Wasco County People’s Utility District has served the community with reliable electricity at low rates, excellent customer service and an ethic of serving the community’s needs. Our strong commitment to our community includes supporting economic development, providing carbon-free, environmentally responsible electric power, and doing all of this as safely as possible for everyone involved.

As a not-for-profit public power utility, our loyalty is to you, our customer—not stockholders. We take great pride in our governance structure, with an elected governing board of five local members, that has open meetings the first Tuesday of every month here at the PUD offices at 2345 River Road. The meetings start at 6 p.m. and all are welcome to attend!

Northern Wasco will continue to provide cost-effective, reliable electricity that adds value to the local economy and be a benefit to you, our customer owners and to our community.

Best to all and thank you for your continued support as we work diligently on your

Roger Kline
General Manager

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Manager’s Report – September 2019

Infrastructure Renewal and Future-proofing

Roger KlineWe’re modernizing our systems to better serve you and our community. As a part of this effort, we are upgrading our electric meters to advanced or “smart” meters. NWCPUD has been studying this, planning for it, and communicating about it for over a decade, and much more in earnest since 2016.

These meters are a common form of technology that transmit energy usage to the utility through a secure wireless network, using a low-powered radio.

This project is a part of an overall 10-year, almost $50 million infrastructure renewal and expansion program. The RiverTrail substation, thousands of new poles, miles of conductor (wire) and many other “future-proofing” updates are a part of this program as well.

Delivering safe, reliable, high-value and environmentally-responsible energy and products are our core business. We do this on your behalf and for a much lower cost per unit of energy than many across the region and nation.

We also recognize that not every decision we make pleases every member of our community. There are times we must trim a tree to safe standards that an individual may not agree with. There are times we must replace infrastructure, meters or otherwise, that an individual may not agree with. There are methods to address when individuals are dissatisfied so they can be heard. That doesn’t mean that decisions will change, but everyone deserves the right to be heard.

Come be a part of the public process if you so choose. Our elected Board of Director’s meetings are public and there is an opportunity to provide public testimony. They generally meet the first Tuesday of every month at 6 p.m. in the PUD Board Room at 2345 River Road in The Dalles.

Happy September everyone, please stay safe.

Roger Kline
General Manager

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Manager’s Report — August 2019

Fires, infrastructure and mutual aid

Roger KlineAs many will recall, last year was a terrible year for wildfires and the multiple hazards that come with them. The tragedy experienced by some of our friends and neighbors will never be forgotten.

The maintenance and improvement work conducted on your electric system infrastructure is purposeful and accomplished with these types of hazards in mind. Please remember that whether it is a meter replacement, vegetation management tree cutting, line access, joint-use-audit, or right-of-way easement, it is all done to ensure safety, reliability and resiliency of your electric service, and the people that support it each and every day.

Similarly, you may have heard of recent electrical transmission line de-energization to mitigate wildfires in other areas of Oregon and perhaps even California. Just know that this is not NWCPUD’s typical operational practice and that we work with many agencies, communities and public officials if and when disaster strikes to ensure public safety first and foremost. We don’t answer to shareholders, we work for you. Keeping you and your property safe and energized with reliable, resilient, affordable and environmentally responsible energy is our mission and our focus. It’s what we do.

Best to all, have a happy August!

Roger Kline
General Manager