Telephone scammers are renewing their calls targeting Grays Harbor PUD customers, threatening to shut-off their power if payments are not immediately made on accounts that they claim are delinquent.  PUD Customer Service staff have received multiple calls from commercial customers in Westport reporting they had been contacted by callers claiming to be with the PUD and demanding payment. 

Recipients of such fraudulent phone calls and mailings should under no circumstances agree to send money to the callers or give them bank account, credit card or other information. Rather, they are advised to contact PUD Customer Service at 360-532-4220 to verify the claim and to contact the office of their local law enforcement agency.

Grays Harbor PUD Board of Commissioners President Arie Callaghan has been elected to serve on the Executive Committee of Energy Northwest, a public power consortium formed by the state Legislature and based in the Tri-Cities.  As a member of the 11-member Executive Board, Callaghan will oversee operations of Energy Northwest and work with the agency’s Executive Director.   

“I appreciate the support of the Energy Northwest Board of Directors and look forward to working with the Executive Board and Executive Director in moving Energy Northwest forward,” said Callaghan.

A resident of Elma, Callaghan was first elected to the Grays Harbor PUD Board of Commissioners in 2012 and was appointed to the Energy Northwest Board of Directors in 2014.  In 2015 he was elected as the board assistant secretary; and in 2017 as board secretary.  He will officially join the Executive Board on June 17.

Based in the Tri-Cities, Energy Northwest owns and operates four electricity generating facilities: the Columbia Generating Station nuclear energy facility in Richland, the Nine Canyon Wind Project, the Packwood Lake Hydro Electric Project and the White Bluffs Solar Station.  Their Executive Board is made up of five member utility representatives, three gubernatorial appointees and three public sector representatives.


The Grays Harbor Public Utility District is notifying customers on a portion of the North Shore Road of Lake Quinault of a planned power outage beginning at 10:00 AM on April 17, 2018.  The outage is expected to last until roughly 2:00 PM of that day and will impact around 90 customers.

The outage will impact customers on the North Shore Road from the Kamp Kiwanis to the end of the road.  In the days leading up to the event, all impacted customers will receive telephone messages from the PUD notifying them of the upcoming outage.

During the outage, PUD crews will replace a span of overhead wire providing power to the impacted area.

In preparation for this outage, customers are advised to take precautions with any electronic equipment such as computers, televisions, and microwaves by unplugging those items.  You should leave them disconnected until after the power has been fully restored. 

The outage time of 4 hours is only an estimate and power could be restored at anytime as work is completed.  Therefore, it is not safe to do electrical work or repairs during that period of time.


Several significant weather events at the beginning and end of the year led to an increase in the number of power outages for the Grays Harbor PUD in 2017.  While the number of major outages fell from 369 in 2016 to 315, the total number of customers impacted jumped from 59,334 in 2016 to 73,337.  That total equaled 264,624 hours in which customers were without power, a sharp rise from 2016 totals.

The 2017 numbers were impacted by several large scale events in which power was out for a large numbers of customers.  In all, 19 of the major outages recorded impacted 53,666 customers or 73% of the yearly total.  Among those was the January 17thdowning of eight transmission poles on State Route 105 that knocked out power to all of the South Beach area and the November 13thstorm that knocked out power to 8,148 customers in North Grays Harbor, the South Beach and Central Park.

“Living on the Washington coast, we can expect wind storms to have a major impact on our utility system.  While 2017 was a tough year, I think it also tells a story about the toughness and dedication of our crews and utility staff,” said Board of Commissioners President Arie Callaghan.  “When a storm hit, they worked together to make a plan and then carried it out.  In this way, we were able to restore power to our customers as quickly and safely as possible.”

Downed trees, wind and storm impacts continue to be the main causes of power outages in Grays Harbor, resulting in 73% of the 2017 outage total.   The most commonly impacted areas were the North and South Shore Roads of Lake Quinault, the Wynoochee Valley and Black Creek Roads near Montesano, and the South Union Road in Elma.

“These numbers emphasize the importance of our capital budget and the need to continue our vegetation management cycle,” said Callaghan.  “By putting our resources into strengthening high outage areas and regularly trimming trees and mowing undergrowth near our lines, we reduce the likelihood of major outages and fulfill our responsibility to provide reliable service to our customers.”

The Grays Harbor PUD will increase customer electricity rates by 2.75% starting on April 1st.  The Board of Commissioners unanimously approved the increase at their Monday evening meeting.

"We take this very seriously and understand that this will impact our customers.  This amount is the lowest practical cost which will allow the utility to provide safe and reliable services," said General Manager Dave Ward.  "We continue to look closely at our budgets, keep capital costs in house and seek to foster economic development in our county."

The main factors driving the need for the increase are increased costs for power purchased from the Bonneville Power Administration.  The BPA announced their intention to increase their rates by 5.4% in 2018.

The decision to increase the rates followed commission discussion on the final size of the increase. Originally the utility had budgeted a 3% increase as part of their 2018 budget, but chose to delay implementing the increase until the spring.

"As a utility, we choose to wait until power use has decreased in the warmer months so that customer bills are not as high," said Board President Arie Callaghan.  "This also allows the utility to include outside factors like winter weather and power use in our final decision.  Based on those factors, the board was able to knock a little off the total increase.  A quarter-percent is not much, but it brings us to an amount that will allow the utility to continue to serve our customers and responsibly manage the utility finances."

Originally, Callaghan had requested that the increase be approved at 2.5%, but agreed to the 2.75% increase after discussion with Commissioners Russ Skolrood and Dave Timmons.  

"This is a matter of fact.  It would be great if we had more revenue and the cost for the power we purchase was lower, but the numbers before us are what they are," said Commission Vice President Skolrood.  "To go lower would impact reserves and put us in a position where we may need a larger increase in the years to come."

"Costs are going up.  When power costs rise, so do our customer rates.  I hate this time of year and this decision, but it's what needs to happen," said Commission Secretary Timmons.

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