Manager’s Message

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Manager’s Report — July 2019

Reinvestment in Your PUD Systems

Roger KlineYou may be noticing more and more inspection and construction work from PUD crews and contractors starting this month. Utility pole inspection, testing and treatment is critically important as much of your electrical system is transmitted and distributed via overhead lines. We are in our third cycle of inspections and it is proving very valuable. Similarly, we are auditing our joint-use program to ensure all those non-electric service wires
and interconnections on PUD poles are safe and appropriate.

The advanced meter infrastructure project is moving forward very well. The communication network is up and running and the “vintage” meter on my own home was replaced with an accurate digital meter that has already given me some personal insight as to how I can reduce unnecessary power consumption and lower my bill. We are excited to get these meters installed throughout our system and to begin offering everyone more insight into their own power consumption patterns.

I know I’ve hinted at this before, but we will soon be releasing our mobile application (app) to provide consumption, billing, and other customer service information to you. Please stay tuned!

It’s hard to believe we’re already halfway through 2019. So much excellent work is being accomplished at NWCPUD by your excellent staff. As I write this, we’ve just finished celebrating the completion of the Quenett Creek Substation with our partner the Bonneville Power Administration (BPA). More on that later.

Enjoy the sunshine and be safe as your recreate outside!

Roger Kline
General Manager

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Manager’s Report — June 2019

Call 8-1-1 to play it safe when you dig

Roger KlineThis is a great time of year to be outdoors enjoying the beautiful weather in the Columbia River Gorge, whether you are out on the river, hiking in the mountains, or just taking care of those projects around the yard that you’ve planned over the winter.

It’s also the time of year when you hear in the news about broken water or sewer pipes because someone forgot to call for an underground facilities locate. Most utility line strikes take place in the summer months when more yard work is being done.

Nationwide, about a quarter of those happen due to insufficient notice to the 8-1-1 service.

Whether you are planting new trees, building a deck, or any other kind of outdoor improvement, if you plan to dig more than a foot below the surface, be sure to call 8-1-1 at least two full business days before you start work.

A call to 8-1-1 connects homeowners and contractors to the Oregon Utility Notification Center, the one-call center, which notifies utility companies of the intent to dig. Locators are then sent to the digging site to mark underground lines with color-coded spray paint or flags.

Locates are free and help avoid the risk of injury, disruption of utility service, and potential liability for repair costs.

Learn more about 8-1-1 service at the Oregon Utility Notification Center website.

At your Northern Wasco County PUD, we’d also like to remind you to look up as well as down while doing yard improvements. Make sure you stay a safe distance away from overhead power lines to avoid risk of injury, and leave tree trimming around power lines to the professionals at Trees, Inc., who work on behalf of the PUD and are specially trained to work around power lines.

Roger Kline
General Manager

 

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Manager’s Report — May 2019

Current technology and new infrastructure

Roger KlineI want to take this opportunity to thank all of you for working hard to conserve energy over this very cold, and late winter season. Now that we’re well into warmer weather, your PUD team is supporting all of your new construction projects, remodels, and doing our work to keep the power flowing safely and reliably.

We’re busy working through our long list of reinvestment projects as well as some system expansion and growth work too. Maybe you’ll notice them, maybe you won’t, but know that they are all integral to keeping your electric service available when you need and want it. One project that we’re very excited about is the advanced meter infrastructure project. We are one of the last utilities in the region to update our systems to this current technology. We waited for the costs to come down and for the technology to become very mature. As a matter of fact, over 50 percent of all utilities across the nation have some version of advanced meter infrastructure in place now—electricity, water, natural-gas, and the like. More science-based facts can be found on this website, starting with the Advanced Meters page. We have a very comprehensive Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ’s) section there, as well. We look forward to offering you more products and services once the systems are all in place.

On a different note, this is a great time of year to conduct an energy-audit to help identify the specific things we can do together to better manage your energy consumption (which directly affects the amount of your PUD bill). The audit is free.

These are just some of the actions your PUD is taking on your behalf. Help is just an office visit or a phone call away. Also remember, you can interact with your account 24 hours a day, 7 days a week online through our website. Paying your bill this way, or through our automated telephone system has no service fee!

Roger Kline
General Manager

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Manager’s Report — April 2019

Neighbors Helping Neighbors

Roger KlineBy the time you read this I am hopeful that the snow has melted and that we are in fact well on our way to Spring. Given that my weather predictions are likely worse than a certain shadow-seeking rodent, let’s just assume I’m wrong and you’re still bundled up inside your home and businesses.

With this extremely cold and late snowy season, here is another reminder that cold weather tends to increase your electrical consumption, and your PUD bills, and that we have friends and neighbors that could use our help.

We understand fully that the cost per unit of measurement (kilowatt hours) is only one aspect, and that 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, and very soon, other options such as prepay or other programs to help our customer-owners in need. One other way we do that 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 stay 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 and verification of eligibility is determined by CAP.

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 — March 2019

Greenhouse Gas Bill Centers on Cap-and-Trade

Roger KlineLawmakers in Salem are in the midst of passing a bill that would make Oregon the second state after California to adopt an economy-wide cap-and-trade system to regulate greenhouse gas emissions.

The bill has support from Gov. Kate Brown and the statehouse’s other top Democrats, but even its champions are treading carefully to protect the state’s economy as they aim to address climate change.

Oregon has been inching toward this major environmental policy shift for years, as it has become increasingly clear that the state can’t meet its 2020 goal for reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

House Bill 2020 evolved from an earlier version of cap-and-trade legislation known as the Clean Energy Jobs bill that lawmakers considered but failed to pass during the last session.

House Speaker Tina Kotek, D-Portland, and Senate President Peter Courtney, D-Salem, revived the controversial bill by creating a Joint Committee on Carbon Reduction that has been working on the new version since last summer.

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 Where We Get Our Power to learn more. Similarly, if you are considering a switch to an electric vehicle, please know our rates are very favorable to charge that vehicle with carbon free energy. Especially as compared to regional investor-owned utilities.

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 that 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.

Roger Kline
General Manager

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Manager’s Report — February 2019

Energy Burden and Affordability

Roger Kline

The Oregon Housing and Community Services, Oregon Department of Energy, and the Oregon Public Utility Commission recently announced the publication of an initial 10-year plan to reduce energy burden and improve energy efficiency in affordable housing across the state. The plan, which is accompanied by an interactive assessment of energy use in affordable housing, provides recommended steps for Oregon to reduce the energy burden on low-income households. Northern Wasco County PUD is very supportive of this effort as it matches what your locally elected Board of Directors and staff strive to do on your behalf, each and every day.

Energy burden is defined as the percentage of household income that goes toward energy costs. If a household spends more than six percent of their income on energy-related costs, they are considered energy-burdened. The interagency assessment and plan, along with the Oregon Department of Energy’s recently completed Biennial Energy Report, indicate that lower-income families are more likely to be energy-burdened.

As I’ve previously stated here, Northern Wasco County PUD residential customers tend to consume more than the state and national average of electrical energy in their homes. We are committed to providing opportunities for you to reduce your personal energy consumption, and thereby electric bills to ease your energy burden. Please see our Programs & Services section to learn more about energy efficiency and low-income assistance. The information also is available in our offices at 2345 River Road in The Dalles.

Many thanks to those of you that have already begun this process!

Roger Kline
General Manager

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Manager’s Report — January 2019

New Year Means New Technology Offerings

Roger KlineThe start of 2019 means the beginning of some new technology choices for you, our customer-owners.

We will soon have Interactive Voice Response (IVR) available when you call our offices. You will be able to pay your PUD bill, review your account information and eventually report an outage once the IVR tool is fully integrated into our enterprise system. As a reminder, you can already pay online at www.nwascopud.org 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. There are no additional charges or fees associated with using these services.

Secondly, in April we will begin installing our advanced metering infrastructure (AMI). The communications system is the first step, with new meter installations beginning closer to summer time. Please stay tuned for more specific communications on this wonderful project. We’re very excited for the increased products and services this technology will allow us to offer, as well as increased reliability and improved out- age response times.

These expanded offerings are just part of what we’re working towards in support of our community.

Best to all and Happy New Year,

Roger Kline
General Manager

Carousel, Manager's Message

Manager’s Report — December 2018

Take the Opportunity to Save

Roger KlineDid you know that our community tends to use more electrical energy than the state and national average for our homes? It’s true. According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration in 2017; “the average annual electricity consumption for a U.S. residential utility customer was 10,399 kilowatt hours (kWh), an average of 867 kWh per month” (Energy Information Administration). In our community we tend to average 1,200 kWh per month. The average in Oregon is around 900 kWh per month. There are many reasons for this.

One reason is that many of our homes and businesses were constructed before energy efficiency standards were developed, and as a community we’ve lagged in making those investments to ensure our heating and cooling options are returning the most value.

Another reason, to put it simply, is that our rates have been historically low enough that the cost pressures didn’t exist to incentivize investment in new windows, insulation, heat pump vs furnace/air conditioning, or similar.

Revenue per kilowatt hour in 2017 from EIA.gov. Publicly-owned: 8.9. Investor owned: 11.3. North Wasco Co. PUD: 6.7.

We work very hard to keep rates stable and low. We do not forecast a residential rate change in 2019 and expect to continue to be one of the lowest-cost energy providers in the state, and the lowest in the gorge. That stated, our energy procurement costs are still the largest piece of your PUD’s overall budget. Please help us reduce this expense and your personal energy bills. The best way to accomplish this is to have a free energy audit conducted by PUD staff. Once that is completed, we can work together to see what measures are most appropriate for your home. If you happen to be a renter, we have programs available for you and the property owner as well.

This is the time of year when bills can get high due to maximum energy consumption to heat your homes and businesses. Please help us conserve energy and make those bills as low as possible. For those that are able, this is also the time of year community friends and neighbors may need more help paying those bills. Please consider donating to the Neighbor to Neighbor Program to help.

Thank you and Happy Holidays,

Roger Kline
General Manager

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Manager’s Report – November 2018

Refining Our Path to the Future

Roger KlineI have just returned from our Nation’s Capital, where along with other delegates from the Public Power Council (PPC) (www.ppcpdx.org), we met with our Oregon, Washington, Idaho and Montana House and Senate Members and key staff members, to share our perspectives on the cost-competitiveness of Bonneville Power Administration (BPA), progress on the Columbia River Treaty, and other integral aspects of our business.

I am very appreciative that in those discussions the areas of focus we have been engaged with locally are proving very germane to what the industry and region is realizing across a very broad spectrum. That is why I am proud to share that your locally elected Board of Directors approved an updated Strategic Plan at its October meeting. This Strategic Plan refines our efforts for the next 10 years and allows the District to continue to position itself and our community for a successful energy future. The Board was supportive of adjusting the organization’s values to more closely align with the way we have worked over the last few years:

Safety: Working safely and protecting the public, our employees, and the assets we manage is non-negotiable.

Integrity: Being ethical and holding ourselves accountable to conduct business in a fair, honest, open, compliant, and environmentally responsible manner is at the core of what we do.

Customer Service: Providing quality service at a competitive price while being responsive to our customer’s needs creates added value and improves customer satisfaction.

Respect: Encouraging constructive dialogue that promotes a culture of inclusiveness, recognizes our differences, and accepts varying viewpoints will lead us to optimal solutions for even the most difficult challenges.

Operational Excellence: Engaging employees to strive for excellence and continuous improvement ensures that we provide reliable service while managing costs and creating a rewarding work environment.

Sustainability: Maintaining financial integrity, minimizing our environmental impact, and supporting responsible economic development in our communities ensures the long-term viability of the organization and the communities we serve.

The updated Strategic Plan has too many aspects to list here, so I invite everyone to visit www.nwascopud.org/about to see it, or to come visit us at your next monthly public Board of Director’s meeting to learn more. Meetings are held at 6pm the first Tuesday of every month at the NWCPUD Offices.

Also, please schedule a free energy audit for your residence or business to find ways to reduce your energy consumption and your bill.

Roger Kline
General Manager

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Manager’s Report – October 2018

Public Power: The Community-Owned Advantage

Roger KlineNorthern Wasco County People’s Utility District (NWCPUD) 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 kilowatt hour 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 conscious 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!

NWCPUD 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.

We thank you for your support of public power and we are proud to stand with other public power utilities across the nation as we support each other during restoration efforts from the hurricanes, wildfires and other disasters that we have experienced this year.

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

Roger Kline
General Manager