Manager’s Message

Manager's Message

Manager’s Message – May 2024

Roger Kline HeadshotGreetings,

You will notice increased inspection and construction work from Northern Wasco County PUD (NWCPUD) crews and contractors starting next month.

Utility pole inspection, testing and treatment are critically important because much of our electrical system is transmitted and distributed via overhead lines. Similarly, we are actively managing our joint-use program to ensure all the nonelectric service wires and interconnections on PUD poles are safe and appropriate.

Please stay tuned for the release of our updated smart device application, SmartHub, as well as our website. Just like our infrastructure, these are all built to better serve your needs.

Also, we’re close to announcing some exciting and much-needed public partnerships for our community. Just like the formation of your electric PUD, community-owned assets to deliver safe, reliable services at cost are at the core of what we do.

It’s hard to believe we’re almost halfway through 2024. So much excellent work is being accomplished at NWCPUD by your excellent staff.

Enjoy the sunshine and be safe as you spend more time outside!

Best,
Manager Roger Kline

Manager's Message

Manager’s Message – March 2024

We Put People First at NWCPUD

People first.

It is the foundation of our mission. It is the guiding principle behind our employment culture at Northern Wasco County PUD (NWCPUD). It is the standard driving our emergency response protocols, including our communications with the community.

People first.

Here is where it gets complicated. We had an outage on February 1, which we now know happened when a contractor working for another agency made contact with the PUD’s energized line. The PUD was neither involved in the work nor even aware any work was being performed near our lines.

Shortly after, we learned someone at the job site was hurt, but we had little other information. We operate under the premise that inaccurate information can be more damaging than no information. In addition, when a person is reported to be injured, even if not a PUD worker, we want to be respectful and protect and support any accident victim and their family.

The value of a smaller community and friendly staff is that many folks want to immediately know if their friend, co-worker or loved one was the person injured; the status of the power restoration; or likely, both. To maintain integrity as a reliable source of information for our community, we only share what we know to be accurate information and when we know it.

People first.

“People first” has its own priority list. I am writing this to share our emergency communication protocols. Some will agree and some will not, but we hope you understand the facts better now. We are here to serve our community, and sometimes that means some people first, others second, and some when time and information allow. It is not always easy, but it is necessary.

People first.

As I reflect, we have a lot to be thankful for. I am thankful the PUD family immediately banded together to offer support and gather information. I’m thankful to be part of an organization that cares so deeply for each other and our community. I know we did what we needed to do, when we needed to do it, and we did it well based on the best available information at the time.

I want to express appreciation for the support and patience of our community during crisis events and thank you for the prayers and positive thoughts for the injured worker.

People first. It is, and always will be, the best we can do.

Cyndi Gentry
Corporate Services Director

Manager's Message

Manager’s Message – December 2023

Rate Adjustment Needed in 2024

Roger Kline headshotNorthern Wasco County People’s Utility District’s mission is to provide reliable, competitively priced energy and related services that benefit our customers in the tradition of public power.

We understand electric rate increases may adversely affect our customers and are an important element of their budget planning. Similarly, NWCPUD must review, plan and adjust its budget to reflect the revenues required to recover costs and ensure financial health. Since the last rate increase a few years ago, NWPCUD’s costs, like many of yours, have increased.

NWCPUD staff—in partnership with EES Consulting, a professional services firm— performed a cost-of-service analysis to analyze increased costs from energy suppliers, debt service on capital improvement bonds, cash reserves required by bond covenants, and the increased costs of labor, materials, goods and services.

Based on the results of the COSA, current rates are not adequate to cover expenses and financial obligations. The COSA further revealed revenue levels allocated to our customer rate classes require adjustments by different amounts based on the electrical energy use of each class.

This information was shared with our board of directors at the October and November meetings and is available for your review at www.nwascopud.org under “About Us/ Meetings and Agendas.” The board of directors and staff are committed to maintaining the safe provision of electric service to all customers and are cognizant of making small rate adjustments periodically, as opposed to larger, more impactful increases that can be shocking to all our budgets.

NWCPUD electric rate changes have been below the rate of inflation during the previous decade, and we are committed to maintaining that trend.

Also worth noting, our average residential bills—even with a proposed increase of 3% to 4% on average—are among the lowest in the Pacific Northwest.

Once finalized, a comprehensive rate summary with specific changes will be sent to all customers and posted to our website. Rate actions do not go into effect until May to ensure a rate increase does not exacerbate higher winter consumption.

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

Manager Roger Kline

Manager's Message

Manager’s Message – October 2023

Roger Kline headshotNorthern Wasco County PUD (NWCPUD) celebrates Public Power Week October 1 through 7, joining the American Public Power Association and 2,000 other community-owned, not-for-profit electric utilities that collectively provide electricity to 49 million Americans. This year, we are focusing on how public power utilities work to ensure reliable, affordable, sustainable and customer-focused service to our community.

To mark Public Power Week, I would like to share a few tips on how to save energy and money in your home as we build for the future:

  • According to the Alliance to Save Energy, the average U.S. home uses 70 lightbulbs. Even though modern bulbs are energy efficient, you should still turn them off when they aren’t in use.
  • Swap out old incandescent bulbs for new LED bulbs. According to the Department of Energy, residential LEDs—especially Energy Star-rated products—use at least 75% less energy and last up to 25 times longer than incandescent lighting.
  • Heating and cooling your home uses a lot of energy. Set your thermostat lower in the winter and higher in the summer to save energy and money on your power bill.
  • Unplug appliances when you aren’t using them. Even when they aren’t being used, they sometimes draw phantom power, which wastes energy.
  • Your home’s water heater is a big energy user. Make sure to use cold water when you can, and turn off the hot water while you scrub your hands.
  • Ask us about a home energy audit. Energy-efficiency experts can use special equipment to find things around your home—such as air leaks—that cost you unnecessary energy and money.

We know that using energy wisely to lower monthly electric bills is important to Oregonians. Even as NWCPUD builds for the future, we encourage our customers to do their part to help save energy. While we share these tips during Public Power Week, we hope our community will keep an eye on energy efficiency all year-round as we work to provide a reliable, safe, affordable and renewable power supply.

NWCPUD offers a variety of programs to help you use energy wisely. Visit the Northern Wasco County PUD’s website for more information.

Manager
Roger Kline

Manager's Message

Manager’s Message – September 2023

Greetings,

Roger Kline headshotI am happy to report your elected board of directors continues to support staff’s and my recommendation to authorize the sale of municipal bonds to help us complete some greatly needed infrastructure upgrades and new construction projects for you, our customers. The investment market for bonds continues to be favorable, and accomplishing this work prior to catastrophic failure is important for many reasons.

The rehabilitation and construction of electric infrastructure is necessary as the ways people use electricity continue to evolve. Transportation electrification and the transition of home heating and cooking to electricity from other sources have profound impacts across the nation. Locally, we are increasingly dependent on our safe, reliable and environmentally responsible power system.

We are also starting a transition to a new enterprise computer system that allows us to better serve you. This is intended as a more behind-the-scenes transition, with more communication to you when specific actions are requested, such as downloading a new smart device application or creating a new web login when we get to those key milestones next year. This is exciting for us, as we will be able to serve you better.

Lastly, as we approach September—designated Emergency Preparedness Month—we want to bring your attention to an important event. There is a preparedness event Saturday, September 16, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Mid-Columbia Fire and Rescue at 1400 West Eighth Street, The Dalles. It is a valuable opportunity to bolster your emergency readiness, and we encourage you to participate.

Best regards,
Manager Roger Kline

Manager's Message

Manager’s Message – July 2023

Greetings,

Roger Kline headshotWe are excited to invite our customers and Wasco County community members to join us Tuesday, August 1, for a fun National Night Out at The Dalles City Park. This event is an exciting gathering of neighbors, community organizations and public service agencies to celebrate and strengthen our community bonds.

National Night Out is a nationwide initiative that encourages community engagement, crime prevention and collaboration between residents and local public services. Northern Wasco County People’s Utility District is committed to fostering a strong sense of community and creating opportunities for neighbors to connect. This event is a perfect embodiment of our vision.

Participating community partners include The Dalles Police Department, Wasco County Sheriff ’s Office and Mid-Columbia Fire & Rescue. Their presence at the event provides an excellent opportunity for community members to interact, engage and get to know the dedicated individuals who work tirelessly to ensure our safety and well-being.

NWCPUD firmly believes in the power of community collaboration and the positive impact it can have on our neighborhood. By connecting with one another and working hand in hand with our local public service agencies, we can create a safer, more united and resilient community for all.

Join us as we come together to make a difference and build a stronger future for Wasco County. Let’s celebrate our neighborhoods and forge meaningful relationships that will continue to thrive long after the evening ends.

Best to all,
Manager Roger Kline

Manager's Message

Manager’s Message – May 2023

Greetings,
Roger Kline headshot

Northern Wasco County PUD recognizes Electrical Safety Month every May, but our workers know the importance of practicing safety year-round. From PUD crews to our consumers, everyone has a part in prioritizing safety.

According to Electrical Safety Foundation International, thousands of people in the United States are critically injured or electrocuted due to electrical fires and accidents in their homes. Many of these accidents are preventable. Electricity is a necessity, and it powers our daily lives. But we know firsthand how hazardous electricity can be because we work with it daily.

Electricity is an integral part of modern life. Given the prevalence of electrical devices,
tools and appliances, I would like to pass along a few practical electrical safety tips.

Frayed wires are a dangerous threat. Power cords can become damaged or frayed from age, heavy use or excessive current flow. Replace damaged, frayed or cut power cords, as they could cause a shock when handled.

Avoid overloading circuits. Circuits can only cope with a limited amount of electricity. Overloading happens when you draw more electricity than a circuit can safely handle by having too many devices running on one circuit.

Label circuit breakers to understand your home’s circuits. For homes more than 40
years old, contact a qualified electrician if you wish to install multiple large appliances
that use large amounts of electricity.

Use extension cords properly. Never plug an extension cord into another extension cord. It could lead to overheating, creating a potential fire hazard. Don’t exceed the wattage of the cord. Doing so risks overloading the cord and starting a fire. Rather than using extension cords as permanent solutions, contact a licensed electrician to install additional outlets.

Talk with your children about playing it safe around electricity. Help them be aware of overhead power lines near where they play outdoors.

Our priority is keeping power flowing to your home or business 24/7, 365 days a year. Equally important is keeping our community safe around electricity. Contact us for additional electrical safety tips or if you would like us to provide a safety demonstration at your school or community event.

Best to all,

Manager Roger Kline 

Manager's Message

Manager’s Message – April 2023

The Power Behind Your Power

Greetings,

Roger Kline headshotLineworker Appreciation Day is April 18. During April, if you see a lineworker, please pause to say thank you to the power behind your power. Let them know you appreciate their hard work to keep the lights on, regardless of the conditions.

Lineworkers serve on the front line of our nation’s energy needs. This month, Northern Wasco County People’s Utility District, along with other electric utilities across the country, will honor the brave men and women who work hard to keep the lights on.

Line crews work around the clock, sometimes in difficult and dangerous conditions, to keep power flowing to our local communities. Whether restoring power after a major storm or maintaining critical infrastructure to our electric system, lineworkers are at the heart of our utility.

When a storm hits, lineworkers set aside their personal priorities because Mother Nature doesn’t work around holidays, vacations and birthdays. A service-oriented mentality is one of the many admirable characteristics of an electric utility lineworker.

NWCPUD is proud to honor the lineworkers who maintain more than 690 miles of power lines throughout the 87 square miles of our service territory.

We invite all our customer-owners to take a moment and thank a lineworker for the important work they do. On April 18, you can use #ThankALineworker on social media to show your support for the brave men and women who power our lives.

Best to all,
Manager Roger Kline

Manager's Message

Manager’s Message – March 2023

Connecting With Your PUD

Greetings,

Roger Kline headshotA customer recently raised a concern with the timeliness of the paper billing system. Since 2011, we have worked with a billing vendor to send paper statements to customers who choose to receive their communication that way. The vendor, who is outside the local area, sends those paper statements through the United States Postal Service.

Bills haven’t been sent from the local PUD office for more than a decade, and we don’t see this changing. We encourage customers to use electronic billing, auto-payment withdrawal, our website, smart app or even the telephone if they wish to contact us regarding billing or anything else. The lobby is open from 7:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Monday through Thursday for those who wish to do business in person.

Northern Wasco County PUD strives to ensure affordability of the near-zero carbon-based electricity we provide. To accomplish this and be an efficient organization, we make choices on your behalf in the best interests of the district and community.

If you don’t receive a bill, please get in touch with us. We are a locally controlled, not-for-profit utility. It isn’t our business practice to disconnect your service because your bill was late, you didn’t receive it or for any reason other than we couldn’t find a workable solution together. That’s one of the many values of being served by public power and a consumer-owned utility.

I want to thank the customer who raised the concern. We will keep striving to improve the things that are in our direct control and otherwise.

Best to all,

Manager Roger Kline 

Manager's Message

Manager’s Message – February 2023

Greetings,

Roger Kline headshotNorthern Wasco County PUD strives to ensure affordability of the near-zero carbon-based electric service it provides.

Your locally elected board of directors, staff and I attentively monitor the actions in Salem and Washington, D.C., to see how any proposed legislative action may affect us and the provision of safe, reliable and environmentally responsible electric service we all depend upon.

We find it important to engage in the legislative process early to try to influence where we can on your behalf. Whether it relates to environmental attributes of our hydroelectric systems, fish and wildlife recovery programs, infrastructure reinvestment, income-qualified customer support or even cybersecurity, we have a stake in ensuring unintended consequences are not realized.

Visit our website to learn more about our various programs. More information is also available in the board of directors’ meeting agenda and attachments.

Best to all,

Manager Roger Kline