Manager’s Report – August 2018
Maintaining tradition and making strides
The following is an update from my letter to you in December of 2016. We’re still working hard to provide you with the level and quality of service we all desire. Whether outwardly visible or not, much progress has been made on your behalf. Thank you for your continued trust and support.
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 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.
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. Customer satisfaction in the District is very high.
These same attributes, however, can create challenges as the District begins to navigate a growing and changing economy, shifting community demographics and changing customer expectations. As a broad statement, 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 made many strides in updating infrastructure, safety, technical and professional development training for staff, and the updating and modernizing of customer facing systems. We are now very well positioned to succeed in these areas. The work isn’t done but we’re much better off today.
The stated philosophy of the District 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.”
I am very proud of this organization and its staff. We’ve received the highest Reliable Public Power Provider (RP3) score and rating in the District’s history from the American Public Power Association (APPA). 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 as 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 on the next iteration of the District’s Strategic Plan. More on that in future writings.