|November 3, 2008|
MINUTES of the 4,481st being a Regular Meeting of the Commission of Public Utility District No. 1 of Grays Harbor County.
Office located at 220 Myrtle Street, Hoquiam, Washington. Monday, November 3, 2008, 3:00 p.m., Pacific Daylight Time.
The Workshop portion of the meeting was called to order at 3:00 p.m., by President Jim Eddy. Those in attendance were Commissioners Jim Eddy, Tom Casey and Truman Seely. General Manager Rick Lovely, Assistant General Manager Doug Smith, General Counsel Rick Pitt, Community & Government Relations Director Liz Anderson, Engineering Manager Wes Gray, Senior Key Accounts Representative Kevin Howerton, Daily World report Leif Nesheim and 1 member of the public were also present.
The workshop consisted of a presentation by Mike Tracy of the Grays Harbor Economic Development Council.
MEETING CALLED TO ORDER:
The meeting was called to order at 4:33 p.m. by President Jim Eddy. Those in attendance were Commissioners Jim Eddy, Tom Casey and Truman Seely. General Manager Rick Lovely, Assistant General Manager Doug Smith, General Counsel Rick Pitt, Engineering Manager Wes Gray, Human Resources Director Linda Trygstad, Community & Government Relations Director Liz Anderson, Senior Key Accounts Representative Kevin Howerton, IT Supervisor Ged West, Daily World report Leif Nesheim and 5 members of the public were also present as the meeting was brought to order.
Commissioner Tom Casey moved that the Minutes from the 4,480th meeting on October 27, 2008 be approved. Commissioner Truman Seely seconded the motion. Motion carried by unanimous vote.
Commissioner Eddy stated that the Board welcomes both high schools to use the District’s facilities for the foodball weigh-in and tallying money as they have done in the past. The District is very supportive of the annual foodball event.
A representative from Aberdeen High School stated that both schools would bring copies of their foodball event calendars to Tiffanee Chaufty for distribution. Aberdeen High School also has a website where all of the foodball events are listed. The website address is bobcat.asd5.org. Another representative from Aberdeen High School stated not to type www. . . but to just type the website address exactly as previously stated.
PUD customer Damian Code stated that he recently received a bill when his meter was changed over from an analog meter to a digital meter. He is a landlord and owns a rental that has been vacant for months so he has not used any power for several months. He recalls an agreement between himself and the PUD that as a landlord, he would not receive a bill from the PUD when there was no power usage. As soon as the change was made from analog meters to digital meters, he thinks the meter picked up a clock on a microwave that he forgot to unplug and billed him for the power.
Assistant General Manager Doug Smith stated that he is not aware of any such agreements between the PUD and landlords where a landlord had power still hooked up and the PUD was not billing them. He thought that if power was still hooked up, the bill would then be sent to the landlord rather than the tenant once the tenant had vacated. Mr. Smith left the meeting to attempt to contact Customer Service Manager Randy Schmidt.
Commissioner Eddy stated that if Mr. Code was still a PUD customer, he should have been getting a minimum bill. He asked Mr. Code to bring in any paperwork he has to Assistant General Manager Doug Smith. If the District has made a mistake, then Mr. Code will be billed for all of the other months he inadvertently did not receive a bill. The minimum charge recently went up.
General Manager Rick Lovely explained that it took a certain amount of wattage to get the disc to turn in the analog meters and the digital meters pretty much pick up any power usage and are much more accurate. It could be that the analog meter did not pick up the amount of power being used in Mr. Code’s vacant rental since it was so minimal.
Engineering Manager Wes Gray discussed the Customer Service Engineer Customer and Maintenance Job Statistics through October 30, 2008. Engineering’s backlog has improved significantly. It now takes about two to four weeks to get something released from Engineering and about another two weeks to get it constructed. He thinks this is a normal timeframe for the District.
Commissioner Eddy asked Mr. Gray to find out if the District was slow or fast compared to other utilities and the reasons why.
General Manager Rick Lovely stated that Engineering’s timeframe is only going to improve, because the two Customer Service Engineer positions have been filled. Things will only keep getting better. Rob Evans and Brian Cokeley are still learning, but learning at a fast pace which is helping to improve the turnaround time in Engineering.
General Counsel Rick Pitt stated that he received an e-mail from Customer Accounting and Credit Supervisor Merilynn McClanahan recently. Stan Trohimovich also sent an e-mail to Tiffanee Chaufty earlier today asking to be placed on the agenda for tonight’s meeting. He replied to Mr. Trohimovich’s e-mail and told him that the District would be happy to hear from him but the agenda for tonight’s meeting had already been finalized. The District sent him a final notice notifying him that power at his business would be disconnected this week for non-payment of his past due bills. The District will not disconnect his residence if it receives a note from Mrs. Trohimovich’s doctor saying that power is needed for a life support system. If the District received such a note, then it would leave the power on but would limit the amount of power that the Trohimovich’s are allowed to use. Otherwise, the District will proceed with disconnecting both the business and home. He wanted to make the Board aware of the recent developments.
Commissioner Casey stated that the District should go ahead with its normal procedures and treat Mr. Trohimovich just like any other customer who does not pay its power bills.
Commissioner Eddy stated that he is not going to say the District should not enforce the rules, because the rules need to be followed. Discussion ensued. It was determined that the District will proceed with disconnecting Mr. Trohimovich’s business this week and will attempt to verify if power is needed at the residence for a life support system for Mrs. Trohimovich. If a life support system is not needed, then the District will disconnect the residence as well.
Assistant General Manager Doug Smith returned to the meeting and stated that he spoke to Customer Service Manager Randy Schmidt about Mr. Code. The District does have agreements with landlords that allows for the power to be left on and as long as there is no usage, then the landlord will not be billed. This arrangement is convenient for landlords, so they do not have to call the PUD to reconnect the power every time a new tenant moves in. Some landlords just shut off the breaker if a rental is vacant. The new meters pick up and register even a minimal amount of power consumption, and are very accurate.
Commissioner Seely asked why the District has such an agreement.
Transmission & Distribution Engineer Phil Beckman pointed out that some customers are not landlords and do not use electricity, but they still have to pay the basic charge.
General Manager Rick Lovely and Assistant General Manager Doug Smith indicated that they would look into this issue and determine where, when and by whom this type of agreement was created, as it does not seem to comport with established policy.
General Manager Rick Lovely stated that the District recently met with representatives from Clallam PUD, Mason PUD #3, Pacific PUD and Energy Northwest to discuss the pre-development plans for Energy Northwest’s Radar Ridge project. He passed out a spreadsheet that he had prepared by Chief Financial Officer Doug Streeter related to the potential project costs and revenues. Discussion ensued.
General Counsel Rick Pitt stated that the District would take the minimum amount and would have the option to expand to the maximum amount. The resource is a public project and is on the west side of the mountains. He recommends that the District move forward and take on this project, and also inform Energy Northwest that the District would opt to increase its share dramatically.
Assistant General Manager Doug Smith stated that if the District does not get the amount of REC’s its needs, then it will have to buy them somewhere else to satisfy the requirement. The statute requires the District to have a certain amount of renewable resources.
Mr. Lovely stated that Radar Ridge is just in the pre-development stage. Energy Northwest got the property and they are exploring the turbines. The District expressed an interest in committing about $50,000.00 towards the development of the project. The District has committed to a maximum of 10% of the project. The District would need to commit to the rest of the available generation for the REC’s that the District would get from Radar Ridge to get the District past the 2016 RPS requirement.
Mr. Pitt explained that the intent is for the District not to commit until late December/early January. It would cost the District about $130,000.00 to lock in its deal. That is all the District would be locked in for. If the District changes its mind, then it’s no problem. The District cannot be assured it will get the maximum amount unless it went to 64%.
Commissioner Seely stated that the District needs to proceed to the next step, but at some point he would like to have a better understanding of the figures on the spreadsheet.
Commissioner Casey made a motion for the District to secure the remaining capacity of Radar Ridge and commit to participate at that level (which is 64%). Commissioner Seely seconded the motion. Motion carried by unanimous vote of those present.
Commissioner Casey stated that the District needed to call Energy Northwest to inform them the District would like to secure the remaining capacity (64%). Then, Radar Ridge will be fully subscribed and development can begin. General Manager Rick Lovely stated that he would call Dave Kobus at Energy Northwest in the morning and inform him of the Board’s action.
Discussion ensued about WPUDA’s comments to BPA on the proposed agreement with Alcoa and CFAC (the DSI deal). Commissioner Casey stated that he favored WPUDA’s comments. Mr. Lovely stated that he hoped the Board would support WPUDA’s comments. The District was one of two PUD’s that had previously submitted comments against this.
Commissioner Casey made a motion to support WPUDA’s comments to BPA on the proposed agreement with Alcoa and CFAC. Commissioner Seely seconded the motion. Motion carried by unanimous vote of those present.
Commissioner Casey stated that the District should encourage WPUDA to copy their letter to the various legislators and Congressman Norm Dicks.
STAFF AND ATTORNEY REPORTS:
Human Resources Director Linda Trygstad reported:
1) District offices will be closed on Tuesday, November 11th for Veteran’s Day.
Engineering Manager Wes Gray reported:
1) He met with Ever Power and BPA today to discuss the integration of wind power.
Substation Planning Automation Supervisor Joe Orth reported:
1) The new switchgear building has been installed at the Valley substation. Crews will finish their testing today and it should pick up load on November 5th as long as there are no issues.
IT Supervisor Ged West reported:
1) IT has been working on the fiber cutover to the East Campus of Grays Harbor Community Hospital.
Senior Key Accounts Representative Kevin Howerton reported:
1) He and Energy Services Coordinator Anna Woehler have been extremely working on the annual conservation report.
Community & Government Relations Director Liz Anderson reported:
1) She attended the APPA Customer Connections Conference last week. She picked up some good ideas for communicating during a crisis.
General Counsel Rick Pitt reported:
1) He attended the APPA Legal Seminar in Colorado October 26th – 29th.
Assistant General Manager Doug Smith reported:
1) He will be participating in a conference call with former PPM utilities on November 4th.
General Manager Rick Lovely reported:
1) He attended an EDC Executive Committee Meeting on October 28th.
The District received a thank you card from Team Lukin thanking the District for its generous contribution to the 2008 Mad Hatter Walk and Roll in Seattle.
The District received correspondence from Thomas and Beverly Brown of Aberdeen. During the December 2007 storm, they were the last two houses on Fairview Hill to have power restored. During prior outages, they were also amongst the last customers to get power even when their neighbors across and down the street had their power back on. Due to the way power is supplied to their house, it is difficult and dangerous for crews to restore power each time there is damage. The crews who worked to restore power last time the power was out told them that the small area where their house is located is probably a prime candidate to be converted to underground service and they encouraged the Brown’s to write to the Commissioners. Mr. and Mrs. Brown also believe that there are several danger trees and are fearful that the trees will come down and wipe out their service again during the next storm. They would like the District’s help in having these danger trees removed. Every time power needs to be restored or repairs need to be made at their home, it is costly and dangerous for the District’s crews. Mr. and Mrs. Brown thanked the District’s fine crews for their diligent efforts during last December’s storm. Mr. Brown was happy to be able to call his wife to tell her that a PUD truck parked in their driveway after being without power for more than eight days.
Commissioner Eddy asked Engineering Manager Wes Gray to look into the Brown’s situation and get back to them.
ANALYSIS OF BIDS:
Fleet Maintenance Manager Denny Dierick stated that the District received two different bids from Global Rental Company to the District’s Call for Bids for one Digger Derrick line truck. Terex Utilities did not respond and Nelson Truck Equipment was unable to bid this truck. Bid #2 submitted by Global Rental Company is below Mr. Dierick’s estimate and is in accordance with District specifications. He is recommending that the District accept Global Rental Company’s bid #2 in the amount of $293,479.91. The truck bid in bid #2 is brand new, has a manufacturer’s warrany and a box. IT also has a single function control rather than dual function controls. A single function control is much safer for the crews. He spoke to Operations Manager Ed Pauley and other guys about the type of features they wanted on the truck. They asked that the truck have a flat body, so they can haul vaults and other supplies to job sites. The truck in bid #2 has a flat body. The truck is also the same unit that the District rented during the December 2007 storm.
Commissioner Eddy asked how often a truck with a 65-foot reach is needed and if the District could just rent the unit as needed.
Mr. Dierick stated that the District’s crews are doing a lot of off road jobs and it is much easier to have a truck with a 65-foot reach available, since it would be used so often. The District’s trucks in its current fleet are unable to reach that far.
Commissioner Tom Casey moved that bid #2 from Global Rental Company be accepted and a contract issued in the amount of $293,479.91. Commissioner Truman Seely seconded the motion. Motion carried by unanimous vote.
a) 127 Claim Vouchers for the week of November 3, 2008 (No. 0055270 through No. 0055396) in the total amount of $777,854.43
b) 6 Wire Transfers for the week of November 3, 2008 in the total amount of $1,967,196.06
c) Payroll for the pay period ending October 24, 2008 in the total amount of $534,248.50
d) Treasurer’s Unaudited Financial Statements for August 2008
e) Applications for 2009 Prequalified Bidders List:
For Substation Engineer Jeeming Lee to attend McNeel Level 1 AutoCad Training from November 19th – 21st, 2008 in Seattle, Washington at an estimated cost of $1,382.00
Commissioner Tom Casey moved that the Consent Calendar be approved. Commissioner Truman Seely seconded the motion. Motion carried by unanimous vote.
The District received correspondence requesting that the District give a donation to Westport’s Christmas By the Sea event. Discussion ensued.
The District cannot make donations with public funds. The Board sometimes approves a contribution to an event in exchange for some sort of District recognition such as advertising or having its logo displayed as a sponsor. Since the District would not receive any recognition, the Board declined to contribute and it is unable to donate public funds.
Substation Automation Planning Supervisor Joe Orth stated that last year, the District awarded a contract to Pedersen Power Products for metal-clad switchgear buildings. The District is working to complete installation of the first metal-clad switchgear building at the Valley substation. This building is expected to be placed in service this week. He would like the Board to approve allowing the District to exercise its option to purchase one metal-clad switchgear building from Pedersen Power Products per their contract with the District. The cost of the new switchgear building is estimated at $1,072,836.00. The new switchgear building will be installed at Electric Park and will replace the existing equipment that is very old and obsolete.
Commissioner Casey asked if the new switchgear building is different from other buildings the District has purchased in the past.
Mr. Orth replied that the new building is also about 20% larger than the other existing buildings due to the need for additional batteries and one more circuit breaker. He also wanted to make sure the Board knew that the District is exempt from obtaining a building permit. He would like to get the new switchgear building ordered, so planned work at Electric Park can proceed in the summer of 2009 as planned.
Commissioner Tom Casey made a motion to approve allowing the District to exercise its option to purchase one metal-clad switchgear building from Pedersen Power Products at an estimated cost of $1,072,836.00 per their contract with the District. Commissioner Truman Seely seconded the motion. Motion carried by unanimous vote of those present.
Commissioner Tom Casey reported:
1) He attended the EDC meeting on October 28th.
General Manager Rick Lovely stated that Radar Ridge would peak in the November to January time period and there are no other Public Power wind farms that he knows of with that type profile.
Commissioner Seely stated that he thinks BPA will probably be inclined to integrate at the standard price.
5) He will be attending the WPAG meeting on November 5th.
Commissioner Truman Seely reported:
1) He missed the Energy NW Member’s Forum last week and the tour of the Columbia plant. He also missed the last Board Meeting. He had to travel out of town unexpectedly to assist some relatives.
Commissioner Jim Eddy reported:
1) He participated in a debate on the Christian Cable Ministries network on the evening of November 27th.
There being no further business to bring before the Board, President Jim Eddy declared the meeting adjourned at 6:53 p.m.