Meeting of Commissioners of
Public Utility District No. 1 of Clark County, Washington
May 16, 2023
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, May 16, 2023.
Present: President Jane Van Dyke, Vice President Jim Malinowski, Secretary Nancy Barnes Commissioners, Director of Energy Resources Dan Bedbury, Director of Operations/Interim Director of Water Gene Morris, Director of Engineering Cal Morris, Director of Communications Erica Erland, Director of Information Services Jeff Groff, Director of Employee Resources Nichole Reitzenstein, General Counsel John Eldridge, Director of Customer Service Lisa Fix, Community Engagement Specialist Morgan Van Fleet, Senior Communications Manager Heather Allmain, Power Manager Steve Andersen, Customer Service Manager Robert Hill, Materials and Purchasing Manager Cathy Wannamaker, Accounting Manager Bryan Johnson, Fleet Manager Jeff Carter, Energy Services Manager Debbie DePetris, Office Manager – Water Sarah Robinson, Water Quality Manager John Roth, Water Working Forman Andrew Holmes, Environmental Sustainability Manager Michael O’Loughlin, Marketing and Events Specialist Maxie Mayer, Journeyman Meter Technician Steve Matson, Senior Customer Service Representative Brandy Orozco and Assistant to the CEO/General Manager Margaret Anderson.
Staff present via digital conference (phone or video): CEO/General Manager Lena Wittler, Director of Finance Melissa Ankeny and PIO/Media Specialist Dameon Pesanti.
Others present via digital conference (phone or video) or in person: Richard Shaff, Rick Marshall, Don Steinke, Tom Gordon, Jared Knode, Rebecca Small, Chris Thobaben, Gordon Matthews, Cathryn Chudy, Bryan Kast, Peter Harrison and Kelly Campbell.
Press representatives: None
At 9:00 a.m., President Van Dyke called the meeting to order for the transaction of formal business and the agenda was approved (Materials B).
The following represents a brief summary of comments made by members of the public in attendance:
Don Steinke shared a memory of a 1977 flyer he received from the Washington Public Power Supply System, later renamed Energy Northwest. He hopes we have learned lessons from the past and asked that we add staff to work on conservation rather than pay Energy Northwest.
Peter Harrison provided a summary of electricity use at his home and his view of the need for nuclear power to support peak demand when renewables are not available.
Tom Gordon wants the utility to follow the example Britain has set with their use of wind power.
If written comments are submitted, they may be obtained by contacting Margaret Anderson at [email protected] or 360-992-3378.
Consideration of the Minutes of May 2, 2023
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 May 16, 2023 from the District Auditor (Materials C):
Electric Revenue Fund – $8,081,075.25
Water Revenue Fund – $175,978.18
Generating System Fund – $2,894,508.31
For a total of $11,151,561.74
Employee Service Awards
Customer Service Manager Robert Hill introduced Brandy Orozco, Senior Customer Service Representative. Brandy was recognized for 20 years of service. Mr. Hill also recognized Senior Customer Service Representative Gaylene Brown and Work Group Leader John Taylor for 20 years of service, but both were unable to join the meeting. Director of Engineering Cal Morris introduced Steve Matson, Journeyman Meter Technician. Steve was also recognized for 20 years of service (Materials D).
Consideration of Establishment of LUD Nos. 1428 and 1462
Director of Engineering Cal Morris addressed the board regarding the Establishment of Local Utility District Nos. 1428 and 1462.
Resolution No. 7783 – LUD No. 1428 – NE 99th St. Subdivision
Resolution No. 7784 – LUD No. 1462 – Iron Horse
After the presentation by Mr. Morris, Commissioner Van Dyke opened the public hearing for comments. There being none, a motion was made by Commissioner Malinowski, seconded by Commissioner Barnes, and unanimously carried that Resolution Nos. 7783 and 7784 be adopted (Materials E).
Consideration of Bid Award No. 654 – Renewable Diesel
Materials and Purchasing Manager Cathy Wannamaker reviewed the memo dated May 16, 2023 detailing the bid results (Materials F). Commissioner Barnes moved to recommend that Bid No. 654 be awarded to the low evaluated bidder Carson Energy Company in the estimated three (3) year contract award amount of $774,813.00. The estimated contract award amount is based on the estimated quantity at the OPIS Gross Wholesale B5 SME-UBD Low Rack Price of $2.655 per gallon. Commissioner Malinowski seconded the motion and it passed unanimously.
Consideration of Conservation Annual Report for Compliance Year 2022
Energy Services Manager Debbie DePetris presented the 2022-2023 Conservation Achievement Report (Materials G). The report, required by the Energy Independence Act, detailed the Utility’s conservation results as they compared to the biennial target adopted in 2021. The Utility’s 2022 conservation target of 9.37 aMW was established using the Utility Analysis Option.
For the 2022-2023 biennium, Clark Public Utilities will report a total electricity savings of 4.69 aMW in addition to utility expenditures of $7,939,409.00.
Commissioner Barnes moved to approve Resolution 7785 adopting the Utility’s conservation achievement annual report for compliance years 2022-2023 in accordance with the Energy Independence Act and instructed staff to submit the report to Commerce by the reporting deadline of June 1, 2023. Commissioner Malinowski seconded the motion and it passed unanimously.
Consideration of 2021 Renewable Energy Target Compliance Reporting
Power Manager Steve Andersen reviewed the presentation outlining Clark Public Utilities’ 2023 annual reporting under Renewable Energy Target requirements of the Washington State Energy Independence Act (Materials H). Mr. Andersen reviewed the three compliance options; Clark Public Utilities will use the 4% cost cap option for 2023.
Commissioner Malinowski moved to approve the policies, data and methodology for reporting Clark Public Utilities’ compliance for 2023 as presented, Commissioner Barnes seconded the motion and it passed unanimously.
Mr. Andersen also reviewed the final compliance year 2021 renewable targets which is due to the Department of Commerce by June 1, 2023.
Consideration of Agreement to Participate in Energy Northwest Phase 0 Funding for Small Modular Reactor Development
General Counsel John Eldridge reviewed the memo dated May 16, 2023 (Materials I) outlining a legal basis for Clark Public Utilities to participate in the Energy Northwest Study. A proposed agreement with Energy Northwest would give contributors to the study priority status in any future power sales agreements associated with the project.
Commissioner Malinowski moved to have Clark Public Utilities contribute $200,000 to the Energy Northwest Phase 0 for Small Modular Reactor Development, and Commissioner Van Dyke seconded the motion.
Member of the public Cathryn Chudy stated she did not support Clark Public Utilities participating in the study, explained her concerns surrounding nuclear power and shared her frustration that the agreement had not been shared with the public. Mr. Eldridge noted that the proposed agreement was received late on May 15.
Member of the public Peter Harrison shared that he has invested in solar for use at his home, and described how it offsets electricity use at his home. He stated his view that the utility needs to plan for peak demand when renewables are not available, and his belief that small modular reactors are a good solution that will be available sooner than other renewable projects.
Member of the public Gordon Matthews shared his work history with Bonneville Power Administration and noted that the length of time it would take to build new transmission for additional large-scale renewable projects is likely in excess of 20+ years. He stated that the beauty of the small modular reactors is that the transmission is built and available.
After board discussion, Commissioner Van Dyke asked all in favor of the motion, Commissioner Malinowski voted in favor and Commissioners Barnes and Van Dyke voted against the motion.
Commissioner Barnes indicated she still had more questions and would like to know more about the utilities that have already agreed to participate. The board also asked to see a copy of the agreement before considering the request again.
Commissioner Barnes requested that consideration of the agreement to participate in the Energy Northwest Phase 0 Funding for Small Modular Reactor be placed on the June 6, 2023 meeting agenda for a second review. The board agreed to revisit the topic and potential participation at the next regular meeting.
Accounting Manager Bryan Johnson addressed the board (Materials J). Weather was colder and wetter than normal, which resulted in electric revenues coming in above budget and off system sales coming in below budget. March residential sales were 118.2% of budget, commercial sales were 110.4% and industrial sales were 100.6% of budget. March ended with a net income loss of $554,000 compared to a budgeted net income of $3.7 million. Year-to-date net income is $848,000 compared to a budgeted net income of $10.3 million.
First quarter updates were given on conservation spending, capital spending and account receivables.
The Water System ended March with 209 new customers, which is a growth rate of 2.1%. March ended with a net income loss of $21,000 compared to a budgeted net income loss of $241,000. Year-to-date net income is $140,000 comparted to a budgeted net income loss of $679,000.
March Wholesale Operations
Power Manager Steve Andersen addressed the board (Materials K). Mr. Andersen provided an update on power supply noting that Slice generation was 41 average MW below budget and loads in February were 73 average MW above budget.
Mr. Andersen reviewed volume run-off, Combine Hills production, March pricing and the benefits of the Utility’s gas hedging program. March net metering generation was 1.24 average MW which is a 7% capacity factor.
Commission Reports and Comments
Commissioner Barnes reported that Columbia Springs will be having a groundbreaking event for their West Biddle Dam project May 18 and she reported on her attendance at the Public Power Council Meetings.
Commissioner Van Dyke reported on her attendance at the Public Power Council Members’ Forum meeting.
Director of Communications Erica Erland introduced Environmental Sustainability Manager Michael O’Loughlin, and Marketing and Events Specialist Maxie Mayer who provided recaps of two recent utility events.
First, Mr. O’Loughlin shared highlights from our Earth Day tree planting with StreamTeam that had 89 staff and community volunteers attend and plant 665 trees, a record planting per person! Ms. Mayer than provided a summary of our 30th Home and Garden Idea Fair that brought with it a change to a two-day event and the plant sale being moved into the main exhibit hall with the vendors. Both events were a great success and enjoyed by customers and employees. Ms. Erland concluded with a preview of the upcoming Pollinator Festival during Pollinator Week on June 24, 2023, expected to be the first of a new annual tradition highlighting the Utility’s Pollinator Project gardens and meadows.
Other Business before the Board
There being no further business to come before the Board, the meeting was adjourned at 12:00 p.m.