Manager’s Message

Manager's Message

Manager’s Message – August 2022

The Importance of the Lower Snake River Dams

Cyndi Gentry headshotYou may have noticed the focus on the lower Snake River dams on our social media lately. In the past month, multiple studies have been released regarding the feasibility of removing these important dams. I am happy to share the links to these reports with anyone who emails me.

  • Washington Sen. Patty Murray and Washington Gov. Jay Inslee released “Lower Snake River Dams: Benefit Replacement Draft Report.”
  • The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) released a draft report, “Rebuilding Interior Columbia Basin Salmon and Steelhead.”
  • The Bonneville Power Administration (BPA) released “BPA Lower Snake River Dams Power Replacement Study.”
  • Northwest RiverPartners released “Lower Snake River Dams Power Supply Replacement Analysis.” As your PUD, we would like to share a summary of important information:
  • The decline in fish returns is seen in both free-flowing rivers and rivers with dams. The United Nation’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change believes this is due to warming ocean conditions, and NOAA agrees.
  • Given currently available technologies, removing the lower Snake River dams would require grid operators to rely more heavily on carbon-based sources to maintain grid reliability, adding millions of metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions to the atmosphere, doing further damage to the environment.
  • Given existing technologies, replacing the dams with a carbon-free portfolio could cost as much as $76 billion. Our customers’ rates could increase by as much as 65% under this scenario.
  • While our focus is on the energy ramifications, we also recognize the significant impacts to flood control, irrigation, transportation of goods and recreation should the dams be breached.

We must continue to offer the essential public service of electricity in a reliable, affordable and environmentally responsible way. A “ready, fire, aim” approach to breaching dams and removing hydropower does not meet the responsibility standard.

We will continue to reach out to our state and federal leaders. We encourage you to do so, whatever your views on this issue. If we cannot have the conversations, we cannot solve the problem. We can only create new ones.

Cyndi Gentry
Corporate Services Director

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Manager’s Message — July 2022

Don’t Forget About Conservation

Roger KlineAt the June meeting of the Northern Wasco County PUD Board of Directors, staff updated the directors on many of the conservation efforts and successful projects completed by our energy management and conservation department. It was a great opportunity to see the real savings achieved by customers who have chosen to participate in the variety of programs the board supports and funds.

The Energy Efficiency Upgrade Programs’ rebate and process guide is available on our website or by calling our office at (541) 296-2226. You can search for contractors who have registered with us to provide services, apply for income-qualifying programs, or receive information on the variety of rebates for weatherization, appliances, heat-pump hot water heaters, smart thermostats, or heat pumps.

Please contact us to learn more or to schedule a free energy audit so we can recommend energy-savings projects to you. Saving energy and thereby reducing consumption and your utility bills are good for you and the PUD. Remember, we function as a not-for-profit entity and only charge rates to recover our costs. Energy is the largest expense item in our budget, so saving energy benefits the entire customer base. Thank you in advance for participating in these programs.

Happy summer, everyone. Please enjoy a safe Independence Day!

General Manager
Roger Kline

Manager's Message

Manager’s Message – June 2022

Greetings,

You will notice more inspection and construction work by Northern Wasco County PUD crews and contractors starting next month.

Utility pole inspection, testing and treatment are critically important because much of your electrical system is transmitted and distributed via overhead lines. We are in our fourth cycle of inspections, and the work is proving valuable.

We also are actively managing our joint-use program to ensure all nonelectric service wires and interconnections on PUD poles are safe and appropriate.

We recently updated our mobile app and web portal to better serve your needs. Please reach out via those platforms. They are efficient and help us keep information flowing to you. Similarly, keep engaging with us on our social media channels. That is the quickest way to stay informed.

It’s hard to believe we are almost halfway through 2022. So much excellent work is being accomplished at NWCPUD by your outstanding staff.

Enjoy the sunshine, and be safe as you recreate outside!

Best,

Roger Kline
Manager

Manager's Message

Manager’s Message – May 2022

Prioritize Safety Year-Round

At Northern Wasco County PUD, we recognize Electrical Safety Month every May, but we also know the importance of practicing safety year-round. From our line crews to you, we recognize everyone has a part to play in prioritizing safety.

According to Electrical Safety Foundation International, thousands of people in the United States are critically injured or electrocuted as a result of electrical fires and accidents in their own homes. Many of these accidents are preventable.

Electricity is a necessity, and it powers our daily lives. But we know firsthand how dangerous electricity can be because we work with it 365 days a year.

To me, safety is more than a catchphrase. As the PUD’s manager, it is my responsibility to keep employees safe. Additionally, we want to help keep you and all members of our community safe.

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.

  • Replace frayed or cut power cords. Frayed wires pose a serious safety hazard. Power cords can become damaged or frayed from age, heavy use or excessive current flow through the wiring. If cords become frayed or cut, replace them to avoid getting a shock when handled.
  • Avoid overloading circuits. Circuits can only cope with a limited amount of electricity. Overload 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 the circuits in your home. Contact a qualified electrician if your home is more than 40 years old and you need to install multiple large appliances that consume large amounts of electricity.
  • Use extension cords properly. Never plug an extension cord into another extension cord. If you “daisy chain” them together, it could lead to overheating, creating a potential fire hazard. Don’t exceed the wattage of the cord. Doing so creates a risk of overloading the cord and creating a fire hazard. Extension cords should not be used as permanent solutions. If you need additional outlets, contact a licensed electrician to help.
  • Talk with your children about playing it safe and smart around electricity. Help them be aware of overhead power lines near where they play outdoors. Our priority is to provide an uninterrupted energy supply 24/7, 365 days per year.

But equally important is keeping our community safe around electricity.

Manager Roger Kline

Manager's Message

Manager’s Message – April 2022

Power Delivery at Reasonable Rates

Greetings,

Roger Kline headshotBy now, you have received communications from us regarding an upcoming rate increase for the safe provision of electric service. For many of you, it will be a $2 increase to the facilities charge— or fixed-cost—portion of your residential PUD bill.

As a reminder, as a not-for-profit community-owned asset, we do not focus on a rate of return for shareholders. We focus on making decisions based on infrastructure and customer-service needs to provide value in a fiscally prudent and environmentally responsible manner to meet our mission.

Currently, we are able to deliver power to our residential customers at the third-lowest energy rates in Oregon. The average district rate increase has been lower than that of inflation since at least 2016.

To ensure a reliable and robust distribution system, the district’s rates need to recover its costs while adhering to the rate principles of being fair, equitable, and competitive. Our commitment is always to provide our customers with a safe and reliable system by replacing aging infrastructure but also planning for future expansion and economic growth in the community.

We thank you for your continued support in our mission to provide dependable electricity at a reasonable cost that benefits our customers in the tradition of public power. If you have any questions, please email customerservice@nwascopud.org or call us at (541) 296-2226.

The full schedule of new rates will be available on our website. Board of directors’ meeting information, our strategic plan, and many other relevant items are available there as well.

Thank you for staying engaged with your People’s Utility District and for being understanding when these difficult decisions are acted upon.

Best to all,
Manager Roger Kline

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Manager’s Message – March 2022

Infrastructure, Dam Battle Rages On

Greetings,

Roger KlineThe interplay between weather patterns— rainfall, snowpack, wind, sunshine—and electrical energy production in our region cannot be overstated. Especially when it ultimately affects our personal finances.

Even though we had some record-setting snowfall and cold snaps earlier this winter, conditions as we look toward spring and into summer aren’t forecast to work in our favor, from an energy perspective.

A deficit of energy and capacity (commodity/ supply) combined with increases in electrical load (sales/demand) is one factor that influences price. Purchased energy is the largest line item in our budget each year.

The second-largest is our capital investment program for utility infrastructure: the poles, wires, transformers, meters, trucks, computer systems, and other items that keep our lights on safely.

As the West shifts away from carbonemitting resources and increases electrification of other sectors—transportation, for example—that infrastructure and energy supply have never been more critical. The availability of the low-cost, carbon-free, environmentally responsible Federal Columbia River Power System is paramount for our community and the Pacific Northwest.

Your PUD directors, senior staff, and I work with the Bonneville Power Administration and other federal partners directly and through trade associations to monitor and influence, where possible, how to best use those resources for the public benefit.

What we are finding is that there continue to be special-interest groups that aren’t concerned with our community or your finances attempting to influence and negatively affect the future and safety of the energy grid. Specifically, they are demanding removal parts of the FCRPS, starting with the lower Snake River dams.

For our PUD, that isn’t just an idle attack from folks outside of our community working in Salem, Olympia, Boise, Helena and Washington, D.C. Editorials in our local news claim supposed benefits of those actions without providing science-based and factual views to the contrary.

If made, the decision to remove dams is not likely to be in the best interest of returning adult fish, other regional commodity transportation or even the infrastructure itself—let alone juvenile fish, the supposed beneficiaries of the work these groups are attempting.

So, what does this all mean for you? For the moment, it’s just a cautionary note. For the future, it’s a warning that the resources we depend on are under attack and in jeopardy. We are proud of the low-cost electric service we provide. We will continue to fight hard on your behalf to protect it.

General Manager
Roger Kline

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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