Moratorium on new requests to end the same day; work resumes on existing requests
Information submitted by Chelan County PUD
Chelan PUD commissioners Monday approved a new rate for cryptocurrency, blockchain and similar operations effective April 1, 2019. The District will accept new cryptocurrency service applications on that date.
“We’ve taken the time needed for a careful look at the risks and costs involved, considered public comments gathered at a dozen meetings and arrived at a solution we believe protects existing PUD customers-owners and maintains opportunities for this emerging industry,” said General Manager Steve Wright.
The new rate, plus fees and charges, strives to have operators carry the cost and risks – operational and financial – of providing them power, said Lindsey Mohns, Customer Utilities business adviser. The rate will allow the District to serve cryptocurrency operations while protecting other customers from the uncertainty and volatility of the cryptocurrency industry, Mohns said.
Rates for neighborhood-based operations, if capacity is available, will start at about 9 cents a kilowatt hour (kWh) and increase to 10.5 cents/kWh in April 2020. Operations in commercial and industrial areas with available capacity will pay a little more than 6 cents a kWh.
Average 2017 commercial power rates by state range from over 7 cents/kWh to nearly 27 cents/kWh, according to the federal Energy Information Administration.
Commissioners said the new rate helps manage risk and protects the interest of all customer-owners.
“I am not without sympathy for changes in technology,” said Commissioner Randy Smith. “…I keep coming back to what’s in the best interest of the most people for the longest period of time.”
“It’s important to point out that what we’re really doing is being respectful of all,” said Commissioner Garry Arsenault. “I’m looking for balance and to embrace the potential of this technology … but, we have to do it in a way that protects what we have.”
Commissioners lifted the moratorium in two steps. Evaluation of applications received before the March 19 moratorium will resume over the next several months. The PUD will accept new applications starting April 1, 2019, when the new rate is effective.
PUD staff will send existing applicants a letter this month asking them to confirm their information and desire to proceed. New upfront capital charges will apply to all new cryptocurrency load.
Existing cryptocurrency operations will be billed under Schedule 35 until the new rate, Schedule 36, is effective April 1.
In other business, commissioners:
- Declared the PUD’s Confluence Technology Center condominium units LL1 and 201 surplus to District needs and approved the multi-agreement Horan Property purchase. Included are the purchase by the PUD of 19 acres of Port-owned land, the sale of the CTC units to the Port and leaseback of the units to the PUD, several purchase options to provide flexibility for future decision-making and related agreements. The package preserves important Olds Station-area options for commissions as they considers a move of PUD operations that would provide long-term cost savings and improve service for customer-owners (00:54)
- Reviewed plans for connecting with customers, employees and the community on the next round of strategic planning as well as the message for initiating the process from General Manager Steve Wright (00:03). Justin Erickson, District Services managing director, outlined the steps, starting immediately, to draft the plan, gather comment and seek agreement on it by summer 2019. (01:37)
- Approved the 2019 budget. The spending plan includes a projected positive bottom line of $77 million, up from this year’s budget of $72 million. Planned are total expenditures of $400 million, including net debt reduction of $38.5 million, and major investments of about $150 million at the dams and in other key assets. Electric rates will stay the same for the seventh year in a row. (01:17)
- Directed staff to issue a request for proposals to supply advanced electric meters and services. Options for how to implement an “opt-out” program will be provided to the board in 2019. (01:10)
The next regular PUD commission meeting is at 10 a.m. on Monday, Dec. 17, in the boardroom at 327 N. Wenatchee Ave.