Meeting of Commissioners of
Public Utility District No. 1 of Clark County, Washington
January 23, 2024

A meeting of Commissioners of Public Utility District No. 1 of Clark County was at 1200 Fort Vancouver Way on Tuesday, January 23, 2024.

Present: President Jim Malinowski, Vice President Nancy Barnes, Secretary Jane Van Dyke Commissioners, CEO/General Manager Lena Wittler, Director of Finance Melissa Ankeny, Director of Employee Resources Nichole Reitzenstein, Director of Communications and Corporate Citizenship Erica Erland, Director of Engineering Cal Morris, Director of Operations/Interim Director of Water Gene Morris, Director of Information Services Jeff Groff, Director of Energy Resources Dan Bedbury, General Counsel John Eldridge, Director of Customer Service Lisa Fix, Power Manager Steve Andersen, Community Engagement Specialist Morgan Van Fleet, Key Accounts Senior Manager Zeecha Van Hoose, Accounting Manager Jackie Maddux, Customer Experience Manager Cameron Daline, Energy Services Program Manager Matt Babbitts and Assistant to the CEO/General Manager Margaret Anderson.

Others present in person or via digital conference (phone or video): Don Steinke, Rick Marshall, Peter Harrison, James Oneil, Jeff Powell, Brent Coleman and Dan (no last name provided).

Media present: Sarah Wolf – The Columbian

At 9:00 a.m., President Malinowski called the meeting to order for the transaction of formal business and the agenda was approved as presented (Materials B).

Public Comment
There were no public comments.

Consideration of the Minutes of January 16, 2024
The minutes were approved as presented.

Consideration of Accounts Payable
The board, by a unanimous vote, approved the following payment amounts as listed on the Letter of Transmittal dated from the District Auditor (Materials C):

Electric Revenue Fund – $20,295,765.32
Water Revenue Fund – $191,324.91
Generating System Fund – $18,937.58

For a total of $20,506,027.81

Rate Design Discussion
Power Manager Steve Andersen reviewed the retail rate options presentation (Materials D). Due to the weather events that occurred last week, an additional option with a higher average increase across customer classes was presented, Options E.

These options result in a rate increase between the range of 9.9% – 14.0% but balanced between the customer types. None of these rate design options provide for a contribution to the utility’s rate stabilization fund in 2024. Customer basic charges across all customer classes were presented and staff recommended a $19 basic charge for residential customers, and Option E (as outlined in the presentation) for all remaining customer classes.

Commission Barnes shared her thoughts on the expenses incurred by the utility and the ultimate decision to consider a rate increase. Commissioner Barnes noted that requirements of legislation in the state of Washington to decarbonize the region ultimately limits the ability of Clark Public Utilities to serve customers with existing power supply sources at the current rates. The changing landscape of clean power supply and the demand on qualifying resources region wide resulting in increased power supply costs have created the need to consider a rate increase. She noted that in her view, extreme weather events, clean energy market competition, intermittent or unreliable power from wind and solar along with state and federal legislators making decisions on how to operate a public utility have left us no choice but to consider a rate increase in her opinion.

Commissioner Malinowski opened the public hearing:

Don Steinke does not see the closure of coal plants as a reason for the rate increase, points to load growth as the reason and states the utility needs to increase conservation efforts and invest in more solar.

Bret Coleman thanked staff for the information presented and would like more time to review the revenue requirements, thinks that the rate design is flawed and shows a disincentive for conservation. He is interested in the calculation regarding demand response for residential customers and noted AMI is not yet rolled out.

Rick Marshall thanked staff for the work this past week during the storm and thinks that working toward more undergrounding is important. Rates at Clark Public Utilities have not kept up with inflation and thinks it is an appropriate time for a rate increase.

Jeff Powell shared his concerns regarding the timing of the increase, stating it will have a $130,00 impact on his company that was not budgeted, and would like to see the utility get ahead of these budgeting items.

Peter Harrison thanked the utility for its response over the last week, noting Clark Public Utilities has substantially lower rates than neighboring PGE and some of the lowest in the nation. Mr. Harrison would like to see the lower basic charge for residential customers.

Commissioner Van Dyke shared that over time the utility has worked to keep money with our customers by keeping rates low or returning surplus revenue to customers when appropriate. With low producing renewables and no new dispatchable resources on the horizon, consideration of a rate increase is the only option.

Commissioner Van Dyke moved to adopt a basic charge of $17 per residential customer per month and Option E for all remaining customer classes. After discussion, the motion was not seconded, and did not move forward.

Commissioner Barnes moved to adopt a basic charge of $19 per residential customers per month and Option E for all remaining customer classes. Commissioners Barnes and Malinowski voted in favor of the motion, Commissioner Van Dyke voted in opposition. The motion passed.

Commissioners thanked staff for all the hard work on the rate study and recommendation process.

Commissioner Reports and Comments
Commissioner Van Dyke reminded everyone about the Race for Warmth on Sunday, January 28th and noted it is the tenth anniversary of the event that benefits Operation Warm Heart.

Staff Reports
CEO/General Manager Lena Wittler thanked staff for the incredible 11 days of 24/7 work during the recent storm, noting that even with all of the amazing work, our employees are always looking for ways to improve service. Ms. Wittler wanted to remind customers that there are a lot of energy assistance opportunities if any experience financial hardship following the rate change.

Other Business before the Board
There being no further business to come before the Board, the meeting was adjourned at 10:19 a.m.