Meeting of Commissioners of
Public Utility District No. 1 of Clark County, Washington
December 15, 2020
A meeting of Commissioners of Public Utility District No. 1 of Clark County was held at the Electric Center, 1200 Fort Vancouver Way, Vancouver, Washington, on Tuesday, December 15, 2020.
Present: Assistant to CEO/General Manager Margaret Anderson.
Present via digital conference (phone or video): President Jane Van Dyke, Vice President Jim Malinowski, Secretary Nancy Barnes Commissioners, CEO/General Manager Lena Wittler, Director of Finance Melissa Ankeny, Director of Information Services Mike Harris, Director of Energy Resources Dan Bedbury, Director of Customer Service Lisa Fix, Director of Engineering Cal Morris, Director of Operations Gene Morris, Director of Water Doug Quinn, Director of Communications Erica Erland, Director of Employee Resources Nichole Reitzenstein, Manager of Energy Planning and Operations Tom Haymaker, Information Services Systems Manager Jeff Groff, General Counsel John Eldridge Customer Experience Manager Cameron Daline and Media Specialist Dameon Pesanti.
Press representatives: None
Others present via digital conference (phone or video): Don Steinke, Alona Steinke, Cathryn Chudy, Jean Avery, Sean Philbrook, Monica Zazueta and Rick Marshall.
At 9:00 a.m., President Van Dyke called the meeting to order for the transaction of formal business. Commissioner Van Dyke noted a quorum was present and the agenda (Materials A) was approved.
Consideration of the Minutes of December 1, 2020
There were no changes.
Member of the public Jean Avery provided comment on her request that the utility sponsor another community solar project.
Member of the public Sean Phillbrook provided the comment on behalf of Identity Clark County regarding broadband in Clark County and the upcoming request regarding a feasibility study they would like Clark Public Utilities to do.
Member of the public Cathryn Chudy provided comment on the recent presentation to the Mayor and the City of Vancouver Council members regarding Greenhouse Gas Emissions in Vancouver and the City’s strategic plan as it relates to climate and energy. Ms. Chudy urged the utility to support clean fuels legislation and fuel switching.
Member of the public Alona Steinke urged the utility to support legislation for electrification incentives and fuel switching. Ms. Steinke asked the utility to use surplus funds to provide incentives for fuel switching.
Member of the public Don Steinke provided comment on the safety of natural gas, his desire for the utility to support fuel switching and installation of electric vehicle charging stations.
Member of the public Monica Zazueta thanked the utility for the energy assistance programs provided and shared comments regarding CETA, broadband, surplus use and climate change.
If members of the public have provided the utility with written comments, copies of these comments in their entirety may be obtained by contacting Margaret Anderson at [email protected] or 360-992-3378.
Consideration of Accounts Payable
The board, by a unanimous vote, approved the following payment amounts as listed on the Letter of Transmittal dated December 15, 2020 from the District Auditor (Materials B):
Electric Revenue Fund – $5,765,672.67
Water Revenue Fund – $471,754.40
Generating System Fund – $63,725.34
For a total of $6,301,152.41
CARES Act Funding Distribution Update
Customer Experience Manager Cameron Daline provided the board with an update regarding the CARES Act funding the utility received from Clark County through an interlocal agreement (Materials C). Mr. Daline reviewed the performance of the CARES Act relief funding program which concluded on November 30. In total the program distributed 11,665 grants totaling just under $3.3 million. It took the efforts of employees from Communications, Customer Service, Information Services, Finance and Office Services to get the funding to our customers in such a short timeframe. Mr. Daline thanked everyone at the utility who had a hand in the success of this program.
The Commissioners and CEO/General Manager Lena Wittler thanked everyone for all the hard work required to get this funding to our customers in such a short timeframe.
Consideration of a Resolution Reorganizing the Board of Commissioner Chairs for 2021
Commissioner Barnes moved to nominate Commissioner Malinowski as President, Commissioner Barnes as Vice President and Commissioner Van Dyke as secretary effective January 1, 2021. The motion was seconded by Commissioner Malinowski and passed unanimously (Materials D).
Energy Assistance Program Review
Director of Customer Service Lisa Fix provided the board with a review of utility energy assistance programs (Materials E). Ms. Fix noted that LIHEAP served 4,412 household in 2020 which was an increase of 400 over last year. Operation Warm Heart distributed 821 regular grants and 404 emergency grants and there were 3,664 Senior Rate Credit adjustments. In all, just under $1.2 million dollars were distributed.
Consideration of Emergency Community Response Extension
CEO/General Manager Lena Wittler reviewed the memo dated December 15, 2020 (Materials F) requesting board approval to extend the temporary guidelines for the Operation Warm Heart, Senior Rate Credit and Guarantee of Service programs through April 30, 2021.
Commissioner Malinowski moved to extend the Emergency Community Response measures under the Operation Warm Heart, Senior Rate Credit and Guarantee of Service programs through April 30, 2021. Commissioner Barnes seconded the motion and it passed unanimously.
Consideration of Intent to Establish LUD Nos. 1383 and 1385
Director of Engineering Cal Morris addressed the board regarding the Intent to Establish Local Utility District Nos. 1383 and 1385.
Resolution No. 7638 – LUD No. 1383 – Tenny Creek
Resolution No. 7639 – LUD No. 1385 – Alpine Village
After the presentation by Mr. Morris, Commissioner Van Dyke opened for public comment. There being no comment, a motion was made by Commissioner Barnes, seconded by Commissioner Malinowski, and unanimously carried that Resolution Nos. 7638 and 7639 be adopted and a public hearing was set for January 19, 2021 (Materials G).
Director of Finance Melissa Ankeny addressed the board (Materials H). October was warmer and drier than normal, which resulted in electric revenues and off system sales above budget. October residential sales were 110.3% of budget, commercial sales were 100% and industrial sales were 95.6% of budget. October ended with a net income of $1.4 million compared to a budgeted net income of $1.2 million. Year-to-date net income is $25.5 million compared to a budgeted net income of $19 million.
The Water System ended October with 814 new customers year-to-date, which is a growth rate of 2.59%. October ended with a net income of 1.2 million, compared to a budgeted net income of $462,000. Year-to-date net income is $2.9 million compared to a budgeted net income of $1.9 million.
October Wholesale Operations
Manager of Planning and Operations Tom Haymaker addressed the board (Materials I). Mr. Haymaker updated the board on power supply noting that Slice performed below prompt month by 8 aMW and above budget forecast by 4 aMW. The monthly load was 20 aMW above the budgeted forecast. Power and gas prices showed volatility during the month due to maintenance on the east to west interstate gas pipeline through the gorge and delays on the return of pipeline capacity in Canada.
Mr. Haymaker summarized the filter issue at the River Road Generating Plant that took the plant offline at the end of the November.
Update on Financial Accounting System Replacement
Director of Information Services Mike Harris provided the board with on update on the search for a replacement for the current financial accounting system. Mr. Harris shared that the team decided to use Crowe LLP and that contracts are being finalized now and the rollout and implementation process is expected to take 18 months.
Commissioner Reports and Comments
Commissioners Van Dyke, Malinowski and Barnes reported on their attendance at the Washington PUD Association meetings.
Commissioners Van Dyke and Barnes reported on their attendance at the Greater Vancouver Chamber of Commerce Legislative breakfast.
Commissioner Malinowski reported on his attendance at the Washington PUD Association Water Committee Meeting.
Commissioner Van Dyke reported on her attendance at the Columbia River Economic Development Council Meeting.
Commissioner Barnes reported on her attendance at the Columbia Springs Board Meeting.
Director of Finance Melissa Ankeny provided the board with an overview of the accounts receivables through the month of November (Materials J).
Director of Information Services Mike Harris provided the board with an overview of the planned migration from Verizon to FirstNet, an AT&T product; it will ensure our first responders have communications during a disaster.
CEO/General Manager Lena Wittler took a moment to wish Mr. Harris well in his upcoming retirement, noting December 31, 2020 would be his last day. Ms. Wittler thanked him for his many contributions to the utility and its customers. The board echoed Ms. Wittler’s comments.
There were no public comments.
Other Business before the Board
There being no further business to come before the Board, the meeting was adjourned at 11:51 a.m.