Meeting of Commissioners of
Public Utility District No. 1 of Clark County, Washington
September 7, 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, September 7, 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 Customer Service Lisa Fix, Director of Operations Gene Morris, Director of Engineering Cal Morris, General Counsel John Eldridge, Manager of Energy Planning and Operations Tom Haymaker, Engineering Manager – Water Russ Knutson and Media Specialist Dameon Pesanti.
Press representatives: None
Others present via digital conference (phone or video): Don Steinke, Alona Steinke, Cathryn Chudy, 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).
Member of the public Don Steinke asked Clark Public Utilities to provide support for the City of Vancouver’s efforts to reduce emissions, pursue conservation opportunities more aggressively and to prepare for a transition to lower use of fossil fuels.
Member of the public Alona Steinke shared her support for the letter the Physicians for Social Responsibility recently sent to the Commissioners and her support for the transition of appliances from natural gas to electric.
Member of the public Cathryn Chudy provided her thoughts on climate change as it relates to recent air quality issues, the need to reduce greenhouse gas and the proposed climate action plan by the City of Vancouver.
If members of the public have provided the utility with 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 August 17, 2021 and August 31, 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 September 7, 2021 from the District Auditor (Materials B):
Electric Revenue Fund – $23,279,564.82
Water Revenue Fund – $526,180.25
Generating System Fund – $646,033.70
For a total of $24,451,778.77
Consideration of Resolutions of Intent to Establish LUD Nos. 1417 and 1420
Director of Engineering Cal Morris addressed the board regarding the Intent to Establish Local Utility District Nos. 1417 and 1420.
Resolution No. 7681 – LUD No. 1417 – Anderson Subdivision North and South
Resolution No. 7682 – LUD No. 1420 – Austin Heritage PUD PH 3
After the presentation by Mr. Morris, Commissioner Malinowski opened for public comment. There being no comment, a motion was made by Commissioner Barnes, seconded by Commissioner Van Dyke, and unanimously carried that Resolution Nos. 7681 – 7682 be adopted and a public hearing was set for October 5, 2021 (Materials C).
Consideration of Bid Award No. 617 – Water Meter Changeout
Director of Operations Gene Morris reviewed the memo dated September 7, 2021 detailing the bid results (Materials D). Commissioner Barnes moved to recommend that Bid No. 617 be awarded to the low responsive and responsible bidder Odyssey Contracting LLC, in the amount of $590,875.00 plus applicable taxes. Commissioner Van Dyke seconded the motion, and it passed unanimously.
Consideration of Bid Award No. 618 – Tree Trimming
Director of Operations Gene Morris reviewed the memo dated September 7, 2021 detailing the bid results (Materials E). Commissioner Van Dyke moved to recommend that Bid No. 618 be awarded to the low responsive and responsible bidder Wright Tree Service, Inc. for the 3-year contract amount totally $4,546,250.40 based on the estimated total hourly charges for the crews and equipment required per year under contract. Commissioner Barnes seconded the motion, and it passed unanimously.
Consideration of Emergency Community Response Extension
CEO/General Manager Lena Wittler reviewed the memo dated September 7, 2021 (Materials F) requesting board approval to extend the temporary guidelines for the Operation Warm Heart, Senior Rate Credit and Guarantee of Service programs through December 31,2021.
Commissioner Barnes moved to extend the Emergency Community Response measures under the Operation Warm Heart, Senior Rate Credit and Guarantee of Service programs through December 31, 2021. Commissioner Van Dyke seconded the motion and it passed unanimously.
Consideration of Resolution for the General Manager Salary
Commissioners Barnes, Malinowski and Van Dyke thanked CEO/General Manager Lena Wittler for her leadership this past year noting it continues to be an interesting tenure for her as the utility navigates the current pandemic. They are pleased with the Utility’s quick distribution of CARES Act funding, implementation of the Electric Vehicle and Transportation Electrification program and the groundwork being laid for the future of the Utility.
Commissioner Van Dyke moved to increase Ms. Wittler’s salary to $267,000 annually, continue the $400 a month car allowance, provide 100 hours of comp time in recognition of 2020 Utility goals met and all other benefits provided to Clark Public Utilities employees. Commissioner Barnes seconded the motion and it passed unanimously (Materials G).
Ms. Wittler thanked the board for the trust they have given her and she recognized the senior management team and staff for their hard work this past year.
Director of Finance Melissa Ankeny addressed the board (Materials H). July weather was warmer and drier than normal. This resulted in electric revenues and off system sales coming in above budget. July residential sales were 110.3% of budget, commercial sales were 107.0% and industrial sales were 104.2% of budget. July ended with a net income loss of $1.4 million compared to a budgeted net income of $2.9 million. Year-to-date net income is $24.9 million compared to a budgeted net income of $15.4 million.
Ms. Ankeny provided a year-to-date summary of conservation spending.
The Water System ended July with 675 new customers year-to-date, which is a growth rate of 3.01%. July ended with a net income of $1.5 million compared to a budgeted net income of $439,000. Year-to-date the net income is $2.9 million compared to a budgeted net income of $12,000.
July Wholesale Operations
Manager of Energy Planning and Operations Tom Haymaker addressed the board (Materials I). Mr. Haymaker updated the board on power supply noting that Slice performed below prompt month by 13 aMW and below budget forecast by 17 aMW. Loads were 42 aMW above budget as temperatures continue to be well above average during the summer.
Mr. Haymaker provided the board with a forward look at the River Road Generating Plant market heat rate.
Commissioner Reports and Comments
Commissioners Barnes and Van Dyke reported on their attendance at the Public Power Council meetings.
Commissioner Malinowski reported on his participation on the Energy Northwest Resource Adequacy Task Force.
Director of Finance Melissa Ankeny provided the board with an update on accounts receivable during COVID.
There were no public comments.
With no public comments to come before the board, the meeting was recessed into executive session at 10:40 a.m. in accordance with the Open Public Meetings Act. RCW 42.30.110 (1)(i) – To discuss with legal counsel representing the agency matters relating to agency enforcement actions, or to discuss with legal counsel representing the agency litigation or potential litigation. The executive session was expected to last no longer than 30 minutes and no action was taken during the executive session.
Commissioner Malinowski reconvened the public meeting at 11:15 a.m.
Consideration of Proposed Settlement of Pole Attachment Litigation and Pole Attachment Rate Discussion
General Counsel John Eldridge, presented to the Board a proposed settlement agreement to resolve outstanding litigation brought by the Utility against Comcast Cable Communications regarding their underpayment of the Utility’s pole attachment fees from 2009 to 2020. The parties have developed a proposed settlement agreement under the terms of the settlement agreement, Comcast commits to not challenge the Utility’s existing pole attachment rate of $28.86 unless there is a future change in applicable law pertaining to pole attachment rate calculations and agrees to pay the Utility $1.1 million. The Utility agrees to dismiss its lawsuit, maintain its current pole attachment rate until at least January 1, 2027, and provide Comcast 60 days (without penalty) to identify any attachments that are currently attached to the Utility’s poles without authorization.
After the presentation by Mr. Eldridge, a motion was brought by Commissioner Van Dyke to authorize the General Manager to sign the settlement agreement with Comcast Cable Communications and to maintain the District’s current pole attachment rate of $28.86 until at least January 1, 2027. Commissioner Barnes seconded the motion and it passed unanimously.
Other Business before the Board
There being no further business to come before the Board, the meeting was adjourned at 11:25 a.m.