Meeting of Commissioners of
Public Utility District No. 1 of Clark County, Washington
March 17, 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, March 17, 2020.
Present: President Jane Van Dyke, Vice President Jim Malinowski, Secretary Nancy Barnes Commissioners, CEO/General Manager Lena Wittler, Director of Finance Melissa Ankeny, Director of Energy Resources Dan Bedbury, Director of Operations Gene Morris, Director of Customer Service Lisa Fix, General Counsel John Eldridge and Assistant to CEO/General Manager Margaret Anderson.
Members of staff present via conference call: Director of Information Services Mike Harris, Director of Engineering Cal Morris, Director of Water Doug Quinn, Director of Employee Resources Nichole Reitzenstein, Director of Communications Erica Erland, Media Specialist Dameon Pesanti.
Press representatives: None
Others present via conference call: Rick Marshall (Materials A)
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 CEO/General Manager Lena Wittler asked to have Energy Assistance Program Updates added to the agenda as an action item. This addition was added and the agenda (Materials B) was approved as updated.
Consideration of the Minutes of March 3, 2020
There were no corrections.
Public Comment – Non Agenda Items
Member of the public Don Steinke provided written comments in advance of the meeting, these comments were forwarded to the board and CEO/General Manager Lena Wittler. His comments were focused on recent bills passed that could affect Clark Public Utilities, 2311 Climate Pollution Limits and 5811 The California ZEV mandate.
Consideration of Accounts Payable
The board, by a unanimous vote, approved the following payment amounts as listed on the Letter of Transmittal dated March 17, 2020 from the District Auditor (Materials C):
Electric Revenue Fund – $6,541,924.21
Water Revenue Fund – $147,817.81
Generating System Fund – $1,463,241.16
For a total of $8,152,983.18
Consideration of Disposal 999 – Surplus Vehicles & Equipment
Director of Operations Gene Morris reviewed the memo dated March 17, 2020 (Materials D) which detailed the vehicles and equipment to be deemed surplus. Staff is recommending that the vehicles and equipment outlined be declared as surplus for disposal through a public auction sale with JJ Kane Auctioneers to be held on April 14, 2020. Commissioner Malinowski moved to surplus vehicles and equipment to be auctioned by JJ Kane Auctioneers as presented on April 14, 2020. Commissioner Barnes seconded the motion and it passed unanimously.
Consideration of Use of 2019 Surplus
Director of Finance Melissa Ankeny presented an overview of available cash, debt service requirements and surplus funds available for the electric and water systems (Materials E). Ms. Ankeny shared with the board alternatives for use of the surplus for the electric system; resource adequacy/COVID-19 response fund, construction improvements for reliability, transfer to the rate stabilization fund, a customer refund or any combination of these. Staff is recommending the water system surplus be used for phase three of the meter project.
After discussion, Commissioner Malinowski moved to transfer $2.0 million cash from the water system to the capital discretionary fund from the general revolving fund for phase three of the meter project. Commissioner Barnes seconded the motion and it passed unanimously.
Commissioners discussed each of the electric system alternatives as presented, CEO/General Manager Lena Wittler shared with the board that in light of the evolving COVID-19 situation and the potential effect on our community, staff is recommending moving the $30.5 million 2019 surplus into the resource adequacy/COVID-19 response fund. This will give staff the flexibility required to react to resource and customer needs as we move forward.
Commissioner Van Dyke shared her desire to refund $10 million to our customers. Commissioner Barnes feels as though all the alternatives provided by staff add value to our customers and Commissioner Malinowski is interested in helping customers most impacted by COVID-19.
CEO/General Manager Lena Wittler said she was certain that our Energy Assistance Program Updates to be presented next on the agenda would provide that help to our customers immediately. Due to COVID-19 staffing restrictions, a customer refund would not be able to be facilitated until May or June, if that was the direction the board chooses to go.
At the conclusion of the discussion, Commissioner Barnes moved to transfer $30.5 million cash to the new resource adequacy/COVID-19 response fund from the general revolving fund and transfer out of electric sales to regulatory revenue that will be applied as determined by the board. Commissioner Malinowski seconded the motion and it passed unanimously.
Consideration of Energy Assistance Program Resolution Updates
Director of Customer Service Lisa Fix presented an overview of the current program thresholds and certification requirements (Materials F). These plan updates would be enacted at such a time that the CEO/General Manager would declare a Community Emergency, the declaration would be reviewed by the board at the next regularly scheduled meeting and be discontinued or remain in effect until such a time as the board decided it was no longer needed.
Staff is recommending making the following updates by plan as a response to the current community emergency. Guarantee of Service Plan – Increase adjustment to $750 (permanent change), eligibility based on prior 30 days of income and allow for self-certification. Senior Rate Credit – Increase credit to 75% of prior years’ bills and allow for self-certification. Operation Warm Heart – Increase credit to $500 and allow for self-certification.
Commissioner Barnes moved to update the Guarantee of Service Plan Resolution as presented for the Emergency Community Response, noting that the adjustment increase to $750 is a permanent change. Commissioner Malinowski seconded the motion and it passed unanimously.
Commissioner Barnes moved to update the Senior Rate Credit Plan Resolution as presented for the Emergency Community Response. Commission Malinowski seconded the motion and it passed unanimously.
Commissioner Barnes moved to update the Operation Warm Heart Plan Resolution as presented for Emergency Community Response. Commission Malinowski seconded the motion and it passed unanimously.
CEO/General Manager Lena Wittler will come before the board to review the current status of the Emergency Community Response at the next board meeting.
Commissioner Reports and Comments
Commissioner Barnes reported on her attendance at the Public Power Council meetings.
Commissioner Van Dyke reported on her attendance at The Energy Authority conference.
There were no staff reports.
There were no public comments.
With no public comments to come before the board the meeting was recessed into executive session at 10:45 a.m. in accordance with the Open Public Meetings Act. RCW 42.30.110 (1)(g) – To evaluate the qualifications of an applicant for public employment or to review the performance of a public employee. The executive session is expected to last no longer than 15 minutes and no action will be taken during the executive session.
Commissioner Van Dyke reconvened the public meeting at 11:00 a.m.
Other Business before the Board
There being no further business to come before the Board, the meeting was adjourned at 11:00 a.m.