Preserving an already reliable system is at the heart of the draft capital budget being considered by the Grays Harbor PUD Board of Commissioners. 

“Grays Harbor’s location on the Washington coast means it will naturally have to weather storms, salt water corrosion and other environmental factors.  With that in mind, the Grays Harbor PUD has constructed an infrastructure that admirably stands up to those elements,” said Engineering Manager Schuyler Burkhart.  “The budget presented on Monday is about preserving the tradition of reliability that is at the heart of the Gray Harbor PUD’s mission to our customers.”

The 2017 budget totals just over $8-million and is spread over the utility transmission, distribution, substation and general plant systems.  The transmission budget totals $1.87-million and includes replacing aging lines and utility poles, continued work on the East Hoquiam Rd. and improvements to the Chehalis River crossing towers.

The distribution budget totals $3.58-million and includes replacing primary underground systems, aging poles and lines and working with the Department of Transportation to move distribution poles away from vehicle traffic.

The substation budget totals $1.42-million and includes renewing and replacing substation equipment, the enhancement and addition of SCADA controls and monitors, and the replacement of circuit breakers at the Ocean Shores and Highlands substations.

The general plant budget totals $1.18 million and includes replacing a utility line truck, technology support for ongoing operations, and building upkeep and maintenance.

"This is a challenging budget in that we started with a final number and filled in the highest priority projects," said Burkhart.  "This is a budget based on needs, not wants.  However the costs of deferring these critical projects would be considerably higher to the utility and our customers."

The 2017 budget represents a 3% increase over a 2016 capital budget that saw the PUD replace over 500 utility poles and carry out large scale transmission, distribution and substation projects in Neilton, the East Hoquiam Road and East Grays Harbor County. 

The commissioners will work with staff to trim the budget to no higher than $8-million.  The capital budget will then be incorporated into the overall 2017 budget which the commissioners will pass by the end of the year.

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