Special Meeting of Commissioners of
Public Utility District No. 1 of Clark County, Washington
March 8, 2022
A meeting of Commissioners of Public Utility District No. 1 of Clark County was held at Clark Public Utilities, 1200 Fort Vancouver Way, Vancouver, Washington, on Tuesday, March 8, 2022.
Present: Assistant to CEO/General Manager Margaret Anderson
Present via digital conference (phone or video): President Nancy Barnes, Vice President Jane Van Dyke and Secretary Jim Malinowski Commissioners, CEO/General Manager Lena Wittler, Director of Finance Melissa Ankeny, Director of Energy Resources Dan Bedbury, Director of Communications Erica Erland, Director of Customer Service Lisa Fix, Director of Employee Resources Nichole Reitzenstein, Director of Engineering Cal Morris, Director of Operations Gene Morris, Director of Information Services Jeff Groff, Director of Water Doug Quinn, General Counsel John Eldridge, Information Services Executive Assistant Colleen Mulligan, Energy Services Manager Debbie DePetris, Manager of Energy Planning and Operations Tom Haymaker, Power Manager Steve Andersen, and Media Specialist Dameon Pesanti.
Press representatives: None
Others present via digital conference (phone or video): Don Steinke, Rick Marshall, and Randal Freidman
At 9:00 a.m., President Barnes called the meeting to order for the transaction of formal business. Commissioner Barnes noted a quorum was present and the agenda was approved as presented (Materials A).
The following represents a summary of comments made by members of the public in attendance:
Don Steinke shared his thoughts on the county’s transition to electric vehicles, not just cars but for fleet vehicles as well. He referenced President Biden’s new stringent emissions standards for heavy-duty vehicles, residential solar and battery storage and noted that he would like the utility to invest the Clark Public Utilities 2021 surplus in related projects.
Randal Friedman took a moment to reflect on gas prices in California, the events occurring in Ukraine, his connection to that country and concern that utility commission meeting proceedings do not reflect connections between energy, foreign policy and people dying. Mr. Friedman expressed concerns with the Clark Public Utilities Integrated Resource Plan and Transportation Electrification analysis and the absence of a demand or load assessment with his suggested electric vehicle adoption projections.
Members of the public Don Steinke and Randal Freidman provided 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 the Minutes of February 15, 2022
There were no changes.
Consideration of Accounts Payable
The board, by a unanimous vote, approved the following payment amounts as listed on the Letter of Transmittal dated March 8, 2022 from the District Auditor
Electric Revenue Fund – $35,080,031.62
Water Revenue Fund – $438,749.50
Generating System Fund – $1,285,488.97
For a total of $36,804,270.09
Consideration of Establishment of LUD No. 1400
Director of Engineering Cal Morris addressed the board regarding the Establishment of Local Utility District No. 1400
Resolution No. 7713 – LUD No. 1400 – Skylee Court
After the presentation by Mr. Morris, Commissioner Barnes opened for public comment. There being no comment, a motion was made by Commissioner Van Dyke seconded by Commissioner Malinowski, and unanimously carried that Resolution No. 7713 be adopted. (Materials C).
Residential Energy Efficiency Loan Program Update
Energy Services Manager Debbie DePetris outlined staff’s proposed updates to the program (Materials D). These changes included raising the loan lien threshold to $7,500, addition of heat pump hot water heater loans and the removal of some repetitive language in the program details. Ms. DePetris also informed the board that Director of Finance/Treasurer Melissa Ankeny had increased the interest rate on loans to 4.99%, within her authority as the Director of Finance/Treasurer of the Utility.
Commissioner Van Dyke moved to approve Resolution No. 7714 revising Clark Public Utilities Residential Energy Efficiency Loan Program and to repeal any portion of Resolution No. 7227 that is in conflict with Resolution No. 7714. Commissioner Malinowski seconded the motion, it passed unanimously. These new guidelines will go into effect April 1, 2022.
Natural Gas Transportation Capacity Extension
Manager of Energy Planning and Operations Tom Haymaker addressed the board requesting an extension of Clark Public Utilities firm natural gas transportation contracts (Materials E). Mr. Haymaker provided the board with the details of the current firm gas transportation which includes delivery to the River Road Generation Plant via William Energy’s Northwest Pipeline, has a fixed-month total of 45,000 MMBtu per day and a current annual budget of $6.4 million. The current contracts are set to expire in 2023 and 2025.
Staff is recommending alignment of gas transportation termination dates to coincide with the Clean Energy Transformation Act goal of carbon neutrality in 2030, and to maintain access to Northwest Pipeline capacity. Extending the capacity offering from Avista and adding points of receipt to the Rockies provides additional opportunities for the Utility.
After discussion, Commissioner Malinowski moved to allow the CEO/General Manager or their designee to accept transportation capacity releases from Avista in the volumes, terms, and locations as presented allowing for discretion to adjust volumes as may be necessary per adjustments from Avista. Commissioner Van Dyke seconded the motion, and it passed unanimously.
Director of Finance Melissa Ankeny addressed the board (Materials F). January weather was colder and drier than normal, which resulted in electric revenues coming in above budget and off system sales above budget. January residential sales were 103.7% of budget, commercial sales were 102.9% and industrial sales were 104.6% of budget. January ended with a net income of $9.6 million compared to a budgeted net income of $4.8 million.
The Water System ended January with 48 new customers year-to-date, which is a growth rate of 1.48%. January ended with a net income loss of $288,000 compared to a budgeted loss of $269,000.
January Wholesale Operations
Power Manager Steve Andersen addressed the board (Materials G). Mr. Andersen updated the board on power supply noting that Slice performed above prompt month by 13 aMW and above budget forecast by 68 aMW. Loads in January were 23 aMW above budget. Mid-C average was $39.20 MWh and Sumas daily gas average was $4.80 per MMBtu.
Combine Hills generation saw the second lowest January generation in the last 6 years. Mr. Andersen also shared the value of hedged gas prices, Clark Public Utilities saw a savings of nearly $3.1 million dollars having hedged gas at $2.60 MMBtu.
2021 Surplus Discussion
CEO/General Manager Lena Wittler reviewed the alternatives, options and history of Clark Public Utilities surplus funds (Materials H). Ms. Wittler outlined the multiple goals of the Utility and the foundation required to achieve those goals, and recommended setting aside $30 million in surplus to discretionary electric capital to be used for the beginning stages of Advanced Metering Infrastructure.
Commissioners Barnes, Van Dyke and Malinowski expressed support of this option and will engage in more discussion with staff and members of the public at the meeting on March 22 before taking action on this topic.
Ms. Wittler also recommended that the surplus in Water of $4 million be set aside as follows; $2.0 to the Water rate stabilization fund and $2 million to discretionary Water capital.
Commissioner Reports and Comments
Commissioner Malinowski reported on his attendance at the Public Power Council meetings.
Commissioner Van Dyke recognized that today was International Women’s Day, reported on her attendance at the American Public Power Association Legislative Rally and provided a brief legislative update. Ms. Van Dyke went on to offer condolences to those that knew or worked with Bob Schaefer, the Columbia River Economic Development Council will be celebrating its 25th Anniversary next week and Mr. Schaefer played a large role in its inception.
Commissioner Barnes reported on her attendance at the Public Power Council and Pacific Northwest Utilities Conference Committee meetings.
There were no staff reports.
There were no additional public comments.
Other Business before the Board
There being no further business to come before the Board, the meeting was adjourned at 11:45 a.m.