Manager’s Message

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Manager’s Report – December 2017

Another year gone by…

Since its formation in 1939, Northern Wasco County People’s Utility District has had a strong public power ethic.

Its five-member elected Board of Directors, the almost 50 employees and the community expect a high level of electric service reliability, low-cost, high-value electric rates, and the kind of friendly, personal and informal customer services that are the hallmarks of many smaller, “home-grown” public utilities across the Pacific Northwest.

As I prepare to start my third year as your General Manager, I reflect on the journey that has been my time here so far. We have accomplished so much together on your behalf and in support of our community.

We safely constructed and energized the RiverTrail Substation. We secured municipal bonds to commence renewal of much of our infrastructure. We improved our safety culture and program and, most importantly, we have increased our tools, out- reach and understanding of what you, our customer-owners want and expect from your electric service provider. Even with last year’s increase, the District’s electric rates are among the lowest in Oregon, the region and the nation, and the reliability of electric service (as measured by the number and duration of outages) ranks well above the national average.

None of these successes came without equal challenges. Broadly speaking, to keep electricity costs extremely low for customers, the District had lagged in needed spending to upgrade its electric system to maintain reliability, the business systems needed to meet changing customer expectations for services, and the human capital investments needed to create a modern, efficient and effective public utility. We’ve moved past that and continue to refine what it means to be your electric service provider of choice now and into the future.

The stated philosophy of the District sums it up best:

“We value our public power traditions, while seeking new and better ways to pre- serve the benefits of that heritage. We believe that with innovation, teamwork and commitment, we can compete effectively in a changing environment.”

Please enjoy the remainder of the holiday season, stay warm and we’ll see you next year!

Happy Holidays,

Roger Kline
General Manager

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Manager’s Message – November 2017

Change in Season, No Change in Mission or Values

As the leaves turn and the evenings begin to cool, let us take a moment to prepare our homes and businesses for the change in weather.

This is a great time to change HVAC air filters, ensure batteries are fresh in your smoke detectors, carbon monoxide monitors, and flashlights, and even that your winter blankets and 3­7­day emergency kits are stocked and ready. As we experienced last winter and during the recent fire season, we can never be overly prepared.

Statistically, we have a very reliable electric system but we should always be ready for extended power outages or situations that isolate us from food, fuel and other resources. Being ready for unplanned events is always a good idea!

We continue to work very diligently to update and maintain your electric power transmission, distribution and customer service systems and all their accouterments and more importantly to do those in as safe, reliable and fiscally prudent a manner possible.

Thank you for your continued trust as we work hard to operate NWCPUD on your behalf.

Best,

Roger Kline
General Manager

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Manager’s Message – October 2017

Public Power: The Community-Owned Advantage

Northern 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, 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 last 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 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.

Best,

Roger Kline
General Manager

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Manager’s Report – September 2017

Staying Cool with Cool People

Greetings,

What a summer it has been!

Hopefully by the time this reaches your mailboxes the extended summer heat wave and the solar eclipse are but fond memories to reflect on for each of us. While we reminisce, let’s take a moment to appreciate the value received of safe and reliable electric service that withstood the extended heat, and is there for us during the light, dark, wind, and during the cold days and nights of winters gone by.

None of this safe, reliable service is possible without the infrastructure and systems expertly cared for by your PUD staff, and the community of contractors which support us. These caring individuals live the motto of public service every day on your behalf and I feel it is very important to acknowledge them and their hard work from time to time.

So, the next time you see one of our NWCPUD employees please give them a wave, honk or just a simple thank you to let them know you appreciate them like I do.

Happy September!

Best,

Roger Kline
General Manager

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Manager’s Report – August 2017

Salem and Washington, DC

A special thank you to regional legislators on a bipartisan proposal to support the 2014 Biological Opinion governing the Federal Columbia River Power System (FCRPS). Specifically, the legislators include Representative Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA), with Representatives Greg Walden (R-OR), Dan Newhouse (R-WA), Jaime Herrera-Beutler (R-WA), and Kurt Schrader (D-OR). This legislative proposal would allow for logical and appropriate stewardship while an updated National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) process is completed.

Together we have already spent billions of dollars on salmon recovery and overall good environmental stewardship across the Pacific Northwest. Even though we are making progress on species recovery and there continues to be very broad support for the efforts and funding from the Bonneville Power Administration (BPA) power customers like your PUD, a few parties continue to litigate FCRPS operations. This includes our own State of Oregon. Because of this, I was one of 36 signatories to a letter to Oregon Governor Brown requesting a sensible approach to this seemingly nonsensical situation.

Oregon’s request for injunctive relief with the U.S. District Court seeks even more spring spill at the dams, which can have negative consequences for fish and increases electricity costs for Northwest ratepayers like you. Oregon’s request is estimated to reduce hydropower generation by about 815 average megawatts over the April to June time-period. This approach could cost about $40 million dollars per year on average in reduced revenues and/or increased power acquisition costs.

Reminder: All the payers into the BPA system are not-for-profit, consumer owned utilities just like your PUD. This is potentially real money added to your monthly bill through cost-based rates, not some faceless out-of-town shareholder having their stock price impacted.

Equally disturbing is that loss of hydroelectric generation is also contrary to the state’s stated carbon reduction goals. This increased spill and reduced generation will likely increase the purchase of power on the wholesale market of fossil-fueled generation.

So again, to be heading a direction that will do little or nothing for fish and only create tens of millions in new costs and more legal uncertainty doesn’t make any logical sense to me or to the rest of the consumer owned utility executives across Oregon. Please wish us luck on getting a response.

I recognize that is a lot to evaluate. I am very thankful for your trust as your elected Board of Directors and I do our regional work on your behalf on these and many other topics.

Roger Kline
General Manager

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Manager’s Report – July 2017

Technology Improvements

The stated philosophy of Northern Wasco County PUD is: “We value our public power traditions, while seeking new and better ways to preserve the benefits of that heritage. We believe that with innovation, teamwork and commitment, we can compete effectively in a changing environment.”

Part of our commitment to you, our customer-owners, is to stay abreast of technological changes and be available to you when you need us. In that light, we are updating how your PUD interacts with you electronically. Our new internet home will be www.nwascopud.org after July 4, 2017. With this change, we will be able to interact with you in a more effective manner ensuring you can read us in your language of choice, on your device of choice, and receive current information in a timely manner. Soon, you will even be able to interface with your account information from your mobile device. Yes, there will even be an app for us, too!

To be clear, our old web home didn’t relate to what we are as a community-owned, not-for-profit entity, nor did it truly describe who we are. The old website wasn’t compliant with the American’s with Disabilities Act (ADA) either and the technology, much like a portion of the PUD’s infrastructure, was past its end of life. The timing was optimal to update this tool as well because we’ve been working hard to update our financial, customer information and engineering technology systems, too. The website is just your window into the rest of these tools and they all need to work collaboratively to receive the full benefits and efficiencies for you, our customer-owners.

These are just some of the actions your PUD is taking on your behalf. Enjoy the sunshine and have a Happy Independence Day!

Roger Kline
General Manager

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Manager’s Message – June 2017

Reinvestment in your PUD systems

You will 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. The clear majority of the utility poles the PUD owns are either at or past their expected life. Rather than simply replace all of them we have an inspection, test and treatment program that will allow us to be more strategic in this work. More specific communication on that will be forthcoming.

Like utility poles, many of you have antiquated electric meters on your homes and businesses that may not be as accurately accounting for your electricity use as they were when first installed. Technology on this front has improved drastically over the past 50 years and we’re going to be replacing those meters to better serve you as the year progresses. We started this work in 2016 and continue to move along this path in a deliberate and thoughtful manner.

Moreover, as the infrastructure is renewed, we have heard you and your request to be able to use current technology to interact with us as well. Our new website will be ready to unveil later this summer, and with it we’re going to promote use of our electronic bill payment services with improved functionality. We can already add your email information to your account and we will begin to improve communication via that platform also. As much as we enjoy seeing you here in the office, there are many ways to interact with us that don’t require a special trip.

As always, these are just some of the actions your PUD is taking on your behalf. Enjoy the sunshine and be safe as your recreate outside!

Best,

Roger Kline
General Manager

Manager's Message

Manager’s Message – May 2017

Rates vs. Bills…

I know we have spent a lot of time and energy lately discussing rates, cost of service analysis, and some of the inner workings of your People’s Utility District (PUD)—essentially, those things that make up the per unit cost of the energy (kilowatts) that we safely and reliably provide on your behalf. What perhaps we haven’t discussed enough is the relationship between all those factors and energy consumption that you use in your home or business.

We work very hard to keep the cost side down, what we want to know is how we can better help you keep the consumption side, and thereby your PUD bill down or at least more manageable?

Some of the things that we are already doing are providing conservation programs to add or replace insulation to your dwelling, alternative heating sources like ductless heat pumps, as well as low or zero interest rates on window replacements or other appliances to make your residence more energy efficient. You can contact us at any time to conduct an energy audit to help identify the specific things we can do together at your location that will help with the consumption. Please contact us and let us help you in this area.

We also have other customer service programs such as senior and low income discounts, community programs such as the Neighbor to Neighbor program, which is a way for those who can afford to share to help those who could use a helping hand. One hundred percent of the funds collected stay right here in our community. Verification of eligibility is determined by the MidColumbia Community Action Program.

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. We’ll keep looking for ways to make your customer experience better when interacting with us. More on that very soon.

Roger Kline
General Manager

Manager's Message

Manager’s Message – March 2017

Colder Temperatures and Higher Bills

As we continue to reflect on and appreciate our record breaking winter weather, snow accumulation, and the countless opportunities we’ve had to reschedule community events, I’d like to take one more opportunity to share with you what this weather can mean to your electricity consumption; i.e., PUD bills.

Ambient temperatures in 2016 and now into 2017 have been colder than last year. As such, and even though you may have not adjusted your thermostat, your heating system has required more energy to accomplish the same task as the year prior. More energy consumed equals a higher bill.

Visually, it can be expressed as follows:

December 2015 vs December 2016 Average Temperature

Similarly, and also very related, is that reading your meter during inclement weather can be problematic. Getting to your homes and businesses and safely reading the meters this year has been quite the challenge. We’re very thankful for your ongoing support in keeping the areas clear to the best of your ability. When we can’t get to the meter(s), we estimate the usage based on previous years’ data. There are methods to correct this over time and we’re always available over the telephone, email or in the office to answer questions.

Until we have a more automated method of transmitting meter data back into our systems, these are the challenges we will continue to face.

Thank you for your continued patience and understanding, everyone is working diligently to provide electric utility products and services in the most value conscious manner possible on your behalf.

Roger Kline
General Manager