News Release – 12/9/2014

For Information:
Erica Erland, Clark Public Utilities
360-992-3238, eerland@clarkpud.com

Clark Public Utilities Board Approves Annual Budget, Adjusts General Manager’s Salary

VANCOUVER, WA – December 9, 2014 – The Clark Public Utilities commission voted today to approve annual budgets for the electric, generating and water systems.

The combined budget for the electric and generating systems for 2015 is $367.8 million, nearly equal to the 2014 budget of $367.5 million. Power supply remains the large majority of the budget at 69.3 percent ($255 million) and the Operating and Maintenance budget is 13.4 percent at $49.48 million. The remainder is comprised of taxes, debt service, rate funded capital and conservation funding.

“The annual budget is based on conservative projections to minimize risk and maximize rate stability for customers,” said Byron Hanke, president of the utility board of commissioners. “Staff works year-round to identify opportunities for cost-savings and keeping the budget almost equal to last year is a reflection of those efforts.” 

For the 2015 water system budget, commissioners approved $16.53 million, compared to a budget of $16.37 million in 2014. 

“This utility runs with lower operating costs and fewer employees per customer than any other utility in the state,” Hanke said. “The staff has done a great job at cost control while keeping standards for quality service high.”

Salary Adjustment
Following a performance review, Clark Public Utilities commissioners also voted today to adjust General Manager Wayne Nelson’s salary.

Based on multiple surveys of executive salaries at comparable utilities in the region and across the country, commissioners unanimously agreed to increase Mr. Nelson’s salary from $245,000 to $255,000. Despite annual increases, the adjusted salary remains below the midpoint of the established salary range for Mr. Nelson’s position. Additionally, the board approved conversion of one hundred hours of accumulated sick leave to annual leave. Mr. Nelson’s car allowance of $400 per month remains unchanged.

“The industry is changing rapidly and Mr. Nelson is leading a lean staff that continues to maximize savings and manage risk while also embracing new technologies and opportunities,” Hanke said. “While maintaining a nearly neutral budget, the utility continues to exceed all industry benchmarks for reliability and customer satisfaction. And we value that.”

Mr. Nelson has served as General Manager of the utility since January 1999. The commissioners have voted to increase Mr. Nelson’s compensation annually since 2011, following a voluntary wage freeze.

For the seventh year in a row, Clark Public Utilities was ranked highest in customer satisfaction for mid-size utilities in the west by J.D. Power and Associates. The survey measures all areas of the utility from system reliability to billing and from customer service to environmental stewardship and is an indicator of the efficiency and effectiveness of the utility compared to similar-sized organizations. 

About Clark Public Utilities
Clark Public Utilities is a customer-owned public utility that provides electric service to more than 189,000 customers throughout Clark County. The utility also provides water service to about 30,000 homes and businesses in the Hazel Dell, Salmon Creek, Lakeshore, Hockinson, Brush Prairie, La Center, Meadow Glade, Amboy and Yacolt areas. More information at 360-992-3000 or www.clarkpublicutilities.com.