Meeting of Commissioners of
Public Utility District No. 1 of Clark County, Washington
November 16, 2021
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, November 16, 2021.
Present: Assistant to CEO/General Manager Margaret Anderson
Present via digital conference (phone or video): President Jim Malinowski, Vice President Nancy Barnes and Secretary Jane Van Dyke Commissioners, CEO/General Manager Lena Wittler, Director of Finance Melissa Ankeny, Director of Energy Resources Dan Bedbury, Director of Information Services Jeff Groff, Director of Communications Erica Erland, Director of Employee Resources Nichole Reitzenstein, Director of Operations Gene Morris, Director of Engineering Cal Morris, Director of Water Doug Quinn, General Counsel John Eldridge and Media Specialist Dameon Pesanti.
Press representatives: None
Others present via digital conference (phone or video): Nancy Helget, Cathryn Chudy, Don Steinke, Alona Steinke, Heidi Cody, Kristin Edmark, Rebecca Hobbs-Kasco, Monica Zazueta, Aaron Reiter and Rick Marshall.
At 9:00 a.m., President Malinowski called the meeting to order for the transaction of formal business. Commissioner Malinowski noted a quorum was present and the agenda was approved as presented (Materials A).
The following are comments made by members of the public in attendance:
Kristin Edmark shared her appreciation for the Clean Energy Implementation Plan (CEIP) process, asked that Clark Public Utilities remove nuclear energy from its plan, discontinue the use of River Road Generating Plant (RRGP) and add more renewables to our portfolio.
Nancy Helget commented that while she appreciates Clark Public Utilities’ commitment to public input during the CEIP process she thinks Clark should do more to reduce CO2 emissions and plan further out than 2025 and that the utility should act faster on advanced metering infrastructure and shutting down RRGP.
Cathryn Chudy shared her concerns regarding Clark Public Utilities’ non-binding letter of intent with a small modular reactor developer and the potential of adding that resource in 2030. Ms. Chudy believes Clark can do better by looking elsewhere.
Don Steinke commented on the impressive work staff did during the two recent workshops but still has concerns about the flexibility plan for the RRGP and suggested the Utility not rush into anything. Mr. Steinke asked that $10 million be spent on solar rather than the flexibility plan for the plant. In addition, he shared concerns about renewable energy credits and Clark’s ability to support electrical vehicle charging on a large scale.
Alona Steinke shared her thoughts on President Biden’s infrastructure bill, Governor Inslee’s executive order regarding replacement fleet vehicles and Clark Public Utilities spending more money on RRGP.
Heidi Cody spoke of her concern for future generations and greenhouse gas emissions, her desire for Clark Public Utilities to reduce carbon emissions and raise electric vehicle incentives.
Rick Marshall provided his thoughts on affordability and the changes in the county over the last 20 years. Mr. Marshall said when adjusted for inflation Clark has been lowering real electric rates every year since 2011. He also provided thoughts on the Utility’s surplus, why there is one and what to do with it.
Monica Zazueta stated she agreed with all the previous statements and has serious concerns regarding climate collapse, the county needs more electric vehicle support and reliable broadband.
If members of the public have 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 November 2, 2021
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 November 16, 2021 from the District Auditor
Electric Revenue Fund – $4,022,639.74
Water Revenue Fund – $113,068.43
Generating System Fund – $47,975.93
For a total of $4,181,684.10
Commissioner District Boundaries Public Hearing
General Counsel John Eldridge reviewed the memo dated November 16, 2021 (Materials C), outlining the proposed changes to the Commissioner District Boundaries. The proposed updates equalize the population in each district, the adjustments are aligned with voting precincts and have been approved by the county Elections Office.
Commissioner Malinowski opened the public hearing. Member of the public Don Steinke agreed with the changes in order to have equal representation across the county. Mr. Steinke asked for clarification with regard to the north/south line as it correlates to I-205. Mr. Eldridge will get that specific to Mr. Steinke later today.
Member of the public Rick Marshall liked the updates to the map.
After discussion, the board agreed with the proposed changes by Mr. Eldridge and look forward to taking action at the December 7, 2021 meeting.
Presentation and Public Hearing on the Proposed 2022 Electric, Generating and Water Systems Budget
Director of Finance Melissa Ankeny provided the board with an overview of the proposed 2022 budgets for the Electric, Generating and Water Systems (Materials D). Ms. Ankeny noted that a decision regarding the use of the low income tax credit will need to be made at the time of budget adoption.
Commissioner Malinowski opened the public hearing for comment. Member of the public Rick Marshall inquired about the cost of covering peak demand, what does Clark Public Utilities do with hedged gas if it’s not needed and would the Utility be able to utilize peak shaving as a better demand response strategy. Director of Energy Resources Dan Bedbury let Mr. Marshall know that hedged gas that is not used will be resold on the market, his other questions will be better answered at our next meeting during our conservation potential assessment discussion and adoption.
Member of the public Don Steinke asked if there were Renewable Energy Credit (REC) purchases in the budget, Director of Finance Melissa Ankeny reported that there were not any REC purchases in the budget, we get our REC’s from our investment in Combine Hills. Mr. Steinke asked about our purchase of gas from Shell, and wanted to know where they get their gas from. Mr. Bedbury said Shell has managed gas purchases and sales for many years and they get gas from Sumas and Stansfield in the Tri Cities and likely other sources as well.
Mr. Steinke also suggested using Facebook to facilitate commission meeting as it is free and is looking for a value to be placed on demand response.
Commissioner Van Dyke would like the board to consider no longer being a member of the Pacific Northwest Waterway Association, she feels like it does not represent the utility in a way we want and there is only one other electric utility that is a member.
Commissioner Malinowski closed the public hearing, the board will consider adoption of the 2022 Electric, Generating and Water System budgets at the meeting on December 7, 2021
Commissioner Reports and Comments
Commissioner Van Dyke reported on her attendance at the Columbia River Economic Development Council Legislative meeting and the MRSC training for government agencies developing climate action plans.
Commissioner Barnes reported on her attendance at RiverPartners annual meeting, Pacific Northwest Utilities Conference Committee, Public Power Council annual meeting and the Columbia Springs Hooked Event.
Director of Operations Gene Morris provided the board with an update on the recent windstorm.
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 10:48 a.m.