Manager’s Message

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Manager’s Message – January 2022

Greetings,

Roger KlineHappiest of new year to all of you!

We hope everyone enjoyed precious time with family and friends throughout the holiday season. We hope you were kept safe and warm in your homes and businesses by the electricity we work diligently to provide on your behalf.

Your board of directors recently approved an update to the PUD’s strategic plan. We look forward to providing you with safe, reliable, affordable, and environmentally responsible electric service in accordance with the plan for many years to come.

Please take a moment to see the updated plan on our About Us page. As the world and energy sector continues to change, we must adapt and evolve with it.

Thank you for your continued trust and support as we work hard on your behalf now and throughout 2022. Remember, our board meetings are open to the public. We always welcome visitors.

Peace and a joyous new year to all.

General Manager
Roger Kline

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Manager’s Message – December 2021

Happy Holidays From Your PUD

Roger KlineAs I reflect on the past year, I am appreciative of the people I have the pleasure of working with and serving each and every day. It’s the people we serve who keep the power flowing.

Northern Wasco County PUD is governed by a dedicated and compassionate board of directors. The policy and regional work it supports and participates in has provided us a positive vision for the future. The performance indicators the board monitors continue to illustrate the excellence of the district. We accomplish all this work on your behalf safely and with the utmost dedication. Of that, I am proud and appreciative.

Consider this my usual plug for energy audits and conservation measures as well. We strive to offer programs that everyone can use to lower their energy consumption and bills. Let me say that again: 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 provide support. Please communicate with us during times of need. We want you to be safe and warm in your homes and businesses.

Lastly, and perhaps most importantly, as we transition into what 2022 will bring, please take the time to appreciate the experiences of 2021 and then join me in excitement for the future.

Best to all and happy holidays,

General Manager
Roger Kline

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Manager’s Message – November 2021

Continued Excellence

Roger KlineIn 2018, your board of directors accepted my recommendation to adopt a new strategic plan for Northern Wasco County PUD. It is time to consider refreshing this plan.

The board has been reviewing the plan’s contents—as well as the performance of the organization—to ensure we all agree with the direction in which we operate. You are invited to participate in the public process and your consumer-owned utility by viewing meeting agendas and materials.

The electric service and utility industry are ever-changing, as are the types of services our customer-owners desire. We are here for you—from smart-home devices and weatherization to energy conservation, electric vehicles, renewable and carbon-free energy sources, and income-qualifying programs. We want everyone to be satisfied and for the electricity to safely be there when you need and want it.

We have completed our advanced meter installation project, rebuilt much of our oldest and outdated critical infrastructure, and continue to revise our tools and outreach to make doing business with your utility simple and practical.

Stay tuned for a refreshed web portal and continued improvement of our interactive voice response and NWCPUD smart app. Our commitment to provide you with more granular energy-consumption data will be helpful for both the utility and for you.

Lastly, these improvements and carbon-free energy delivery have been accomplished with the lowest rates in the region. Fiscal integrity and providing quality service at a competitive price remain our core values and are important to us as we continue to work through the impacts COVID-19 has presented to our community and world.

Please interact with us during our next public board of directors’ meeting to learn more about what NWCPUD is doing. Meetings are the first Tuesday of every month at 6 p.m. Watch our various media channels for specific log-in information.

Rebate Guide & Process Catalog Update

I hope you have found our energy management department’s new customer rebate guide and process catalog helpful. Please see an updated list of contractors in the community on our website. Stay safe and stay warm!

Stay safe and stay warm!

General Manager
Roger Kline

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Manager’s Message – October 2021

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 helping 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, NWCPUD has served the community with reliable electricity at low rates, with excellent customer service, and an ethic of serving the community’s needs. Our strong commitment to our community includes supporting economic development and providing carbon-free, environmentally responsible electric power. We do 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 comprised of five local individuals. The board holds open meetings the first Tuesday of every month at the PUD offices at 2345 River Road. The meetings start at 6 p.m., and all are welcome to attend.

The meetings are also broadcast electronically. Please join us from your computer, tablet, or smartphone by going to GoToMeeting. You can also call (872) 240-3212. The access code is 737-243-317. If you are new to GoToMeeting, download the app at the GoToMeeting website.

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

Rebate Guide & Process Catalog

Inserted in our magazine is our energy management department’s new customer rebate guide and process catalog. This booklet will help guide you to receive cash incentives for performing traditional energy-efficiency upgrades in your home through one of our many programs for homeowners. For everything from insulation and windows to heat pumps and clothes washers, we’re here to help you “TEEUP” for savings and comfort.

Thank you for your continued support as we work diligently on your behalf.

Best,

General Manager
Roger Kline

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Manager’s Message – September 2021

Higher Temperatures & Higher Bills

Greetings,

Let’s revisit March’s manager message, where I shared what extremely low temperatures meant to energy consumption and bills. Average ambient temperatures dropped during the weather system of February 10. Even though I did not adjust my thermostat, my heating system required more energy to accomplish the same task as days prior. More energy consumed equals a higher bill.

What I told you then can also be said for extremely high-temperature events when you have air-conditioning loads in your home or business.

High ambient temperatures were reached during the weather systems of July and early August. Although I adjusted my smart thermostat to be as efficient as possible, my cooling system required more energy to accomplish the same task as days prior. More energy consumed equals a higher bill.

Visually, it can be expressed in the chart below.

bar graph showing how higher temperatures equals more energy consumed

This is actual energy consumption data from my home in The Dalles. I accessed this information from my personal account on our web portal. You can do the same thing for your account to see your consumption. You also can retrieve this same information from the Northern Wasco County PUD app.

It’s a great time to have a free energy audit done to identify ways to reduce your consumption. The energy audit of my home accomplished by our excellent PUD staff identified a few things I need to do to reduce my energy use. I am thankful for the energy-efficiency upgrade programs we offer our customer-owners. The programs will allow for a new heat pump and weatherization measures in the coming year.

Your PUD staff, board and I are working hard to keep the carbon-free hydropower flowing safely, reliably, and affordably to you. I am very thankful for the excellent work by staff and the contractor community, who keep your electric service safe and reliable. Stay cool, stay safe and stay healthy!

General Manager
Roger Kline

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Manager’s Message – August 2021

Greetings,

Roger KlineSince its formation in 1939, Northern Wasco County People’s Utility District (NWCPUD) has had a strong public power ethic. Its five-member elected board of directors, nearly 60 employees, and the community expect a high level of electric service reliability, low electric rates, environmentally responsible power supply, and the kind of friendly, personal, and caring customer services that are the hallmarks of many smaller, “homegrown” public utilities across the Pacific Northwest.

The district’s electric rates are among the lowest in Oregon, the region, and the nation. The reliability of our electric service—as measured by the number and duration of outages—ranks well above the national average. Customer satisfaction in the district is high.

We have made many strides in updating infrastructure, safety, technical and professional development training for staff, and updating and modernizing customer-facing systems. We are well-positioned to succeed in these areas. The work isn’t done, but we’re much better off today.

The PUD’s philosophy says it best:

“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.”

Please consider signing up for electronic statements, or even downloading our app (NWCPUD) from your favorite app store. As postage rates increase, this is a simple way to help us mitigate costs and avoid having to ultimately pass them through to you.

I am proud of this organization and its staff. We’ve received the highest Reliable Public Power Provider score and rating in the district’s history from the American Public Power Association. Our safety records are the best they have ever been, and our audit results— financial and otherwise—are exemplary. It is my pleasure to share this with you because it is all accomplished on your behalf. This team is committed to you.

As of this writing, the board of directors, senior leadership, staff, and I are hard at work updating the district’s strategic plan. The world around us continues to change, as do the opportunities and risks associated with the provision of electric service and other utilities.
Best,

General Manager
Roger Kline

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Manager’s Message – July 2021

Wildfire Mitigation Efforts

Greetings,

utility pole burning Occasionally—and especially during wildfire mitigation efforts—the isolation or turning off of electric circuits may be necessary. Northern Wasco County PUD’s practice is to only do so when other options have been eliminated and in close coordination with appropriate emergency personnel and agencies.

We intend to always provide the same 99.99% reliability we are all accustomed to, but recognize emergencies happen. A recent example was last month when a wildfire near Interstate 84 rapidly burned through parts of our community and service territory. To reduce potential exacerbation of the hazards, we de-energized various circuits while fire crews were in the area, and specifically before a service line crossing over the highway fell due to the utility pole burning through. See the photo.

As a part of normal business, we perform preventive maintenance work throughout the year to mitigate these occurrences. Some examples include our vegetation management program, system inspection, and maintenance, pole testing and treatment, system hardening—steel poles are one example—advanced system protection devices, training, and equipment for personnel.

Please make sure we have your current contact information so we can continue to improve our use of mass-notification systems. Also, please sign up with the Wasco County Citizen Alert Emergency Notification System. The alerts received during the wildfire were integral to keeping community members safe. We have the link on our website under operations and safety.

More information on wildfire mitigation plans, vegetation management, and other related topics will be shared at the July and August meetings of the board of directors. These are public meetings, so please participate as your time and interest allow.

Best,

General Manager
Roger Kline

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Manager’s Message – June 2021

Construction Season for You and the PUD

Greetings,

Roger KlineYou will notice more and more inspection and construction work from Northern Wasco County PUD crews and our contractors as the weather warms and our typical construction season ramps up.

Utility pole inspection, testing, and treatment are critically important because much of your electrical system is transmitted and distributed via overhead lines. Let me remind you that yard sale and lost pet signs, as important as they are, do not belong on utility poles. This is for the safety of crews and the public, as well as longevity of infrastructure and management of overall operating costs.

It is hard to believe we’re already halfway through 2021. We look forward to reopening our River Road offices to daily customer traffic, so keep doing your part to get us to that milestone.

Enjoy the sunshine and be safe as you head outdoors. Please be cautious of your individual wildfire mitigation responsibilities as well as using 811 Call Before You Dig services to ensure your home projects are completed safely.

Best,

General Manager
Roger Kline

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Manager’s Message – April 2021

“Once more unto the breach, dear friends, once more.” —William Shakespeare

Roger KlineThe assault on the Federal Columbia River Power System continues. Some of it is warranted. Most is not. We need state and federal collaboration and direct engagement to sustainably stabilize power rates, grid reliability, and aquatic species recovery.

Merriam-Webster defines sustainable as “of, relating to, or being a method of harvesting or using a resource so that the resource is not depleted or permanently damaged.”

I am a strong supporter of the sustainable properties of hydropower generation. It is the original renewable power resource that provides our customers and region with reliable, carbon-free electricity. As our region’s stakeholders continue to pursue the balance of hydropower, recreation, shipping economics, and aquatic-species recovery, efforts have put you and the rest of the region’s electric consumers—the sole financial payers in this morass—on an unsustainable path.

The federal government committed through the Northwest Power Act of 1980 to balance reliability, economics, and environmental stewardship. During the past 20 years, public power preference prices have gone up about 100%. This has not been borne on the backs of the Army Corps of Engineers, Bureau of Reclamation, or the Bonneville Power Administration, but solely on the preference customers of the region.

On top of these staggering economics, we continue to see the continued degradation of the power system capability. As the power sector looks to early retirement of coal and further decarbonizing the power sector, capacity—the ability to generate power regardless of weather conditions—is becoming a threatened species.

Removing dispatchable capacity resources without replacing them in-kind is not sustainable, as demonstrated in California last August and Texas in February.

This issue has diverged into two distinct paths. Path No. 1 was collaborative work done in the region and overseen by the Northwest Power and Conservation Council to improve fish passage and in-river survival.

Path No. 2 has been constant and consistent court intervention, producing less power generation, less capacity, and increasing costs.

Regardless of path, this economic and system reliability burden is placed on you, our customers, and not the federal government, which committed to balancing these issues.

It is also noteworthy that neither path has led to full aquatic species recovery.

I seek a path for the federal government to stand on its commitment to maintain this balance of reliability, economics, and environmental stewardship. I seek a path where Oregon doesn’t return to past practice and be part of the litigious merry-go-round that negatively impacts both you and the environment. It is sad and intellectually dishonest that they have chosen this path again.

I do not support breaching or removing the four lower Snake River dams because it is simply a stupid choice from a power system, economics, and environmental perspective. But if raising this option at the federal level is the vehicle to meaningful engagement by the Northwest delegation—and real collaboration from Salem—then it was worth the time and energy expended.

Onward,

General Manager
Roger Kline

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Manager’s Message – March 2021

Colder Temperatures and Higher Bills

Roger Kline We were fortunate to energize the newly reconstructed Tygh Valley Substation before the snow returned to the area last month. As I was appreciating that fact—and all the excellent work by staff and contractor community that kept your electric service safe and reliable during that same weather system—I was reminded to take one more opportunity to share with you what this weather can mean to your electricity consumption.

Average ambient temperatures dropped during the weather system of February 10. (It’s still here as I write this.) Even though I have not adjusted my thermostat, my heating system has required more energy to accomplish the same task as days prior. More energy consumed equals a higher bill. Visually, it can be expressed in the chart.

Graph showing how energy use is high even with higher temperatures

This is the actual energy consumption data from my home in The Dalles. I accessed this information from my personal account on our web portal. You can do the same thing for your account to see your consumption. You also can retrieve this information from the Northern Wasco County PUD app. I fully admit this likely excites me way more than it does you!

We are working hard to keep the near-zero carbon power flowing safely, reliably, and affordably to you. Thank you for your continued support and understanding as we work diligently to provide electric utility products and services in the most value-conscious manner possible on your behalf.

Stay warm, stay safe, and stay healthy!

General Manager
Roger Kline