Proposed business plans lay out Chelan PUD’s 5-year “to do” list
Information released by Chelan County PUD
Chelan PUD commissioners Monday unanimously approved the utility’s new strategic plan and quickly moved the focus from planning to getting the work done that supports the District’s priorities.
General Manager Steve Wright said the strategic plan for 2020-2024 reflects commissioners’ vision to provide the best value for the most people for the longest time. Five-year business plans reviewed Monday laid out what each division will do to carry out that vision. (At 01:40 on the board meeting audio recording)
“Consistent with the strategic plan, we’re focusing on improving in the areas of hydro system capability, retail reliability, safety, customer service technology, resiliency and innovation,” Wright said. “At the same time we’re committed to keeping PUD finances strong.”
Four priorities lead the PUD’s strategic roadmap for the next five years:
- · Invest in assets and people and seek industry top-quartile performance for hydro generation, retail reliability and safety while improving customer service technology
- · Sustain excellent financial resiliency while mitigating the risk of large rate increases
- · Enhance the quality of life in Chelan County through programs that distribute the benefits of public power
- · Engage in countywide growth planning and job creation while ensuring the District’s rates and policies are stable and predictable
Chelan PUD will continue the Public Power Benefit program, including the broadband network expansion.
Developing and putting new “technology roadmaps” in place are among the key elements to implement the five-year business plans that support the strategic priorities. Each of the PUD’s nine divisions has a stake in this initiative, Wright said. Technology is needed to improve customers’ experience, monitor and supply data crucial for good decision-making, strengthen IT systems and provide employees access in the field, he said.
The strategic plan includes inflation-level annual rate increases for the electric and fiber businesses and roughly 4 percent for water and wastewater businesses. The plan also forecasts that energy markets will continue to evolve and remain uncertain.
Commissioners applauded the staff work and customer-owner feedback that went into the new strategic plan.
”Thank you for all the great work and for a great document,” said Commissioner Steve McKenna.
Added, Commissioner Randy Smith: “It’s time to get going. It’s been a long road to get here. I appreciate the effort from everyone involved.”
Staff will finalize the five-year business plans and prepare the draft 2020 budget for commission review on Nov. 4.
In other business, commissioners:
- Remarked on national Public Power Week and the many community benefits customer-owned utilities like Chelan PUD offer including great parks, low rates, carbon-free power and local control.
- Remembered former General Manager Gerald “Jerry” Copp, a 30-year PUD employee who led the utility from 1982-92. Copp was a Washington State University graduate and electrical engineer who moved to Wenatchee in 1962 to work for the PUD. He died on Sept. 15 in Wenatchee following a long illness
- Received an update on the supported employment pilot program that offers job experience for people with cognitive disabilities. The 18-month pilot is a Public Power Benefit. A video showed Sydney Lackey at work on routine tasks that free other employees for more complex work. She is working at the PUD for nine months as one of two pilot employees. The second employee will start work in December. “I’m so grateful we’ve evolved to a point where we’re offering this pilot program. Thank you, everyone,” said Commissioner Ann Congdon.”
- Were updated on construction to improve facilities at Rock Island and Rocky Reach dams, plus the next steps in design for the new Service Center at Olds Station. Dan Frazier, Shared Services director, said employees will seek community feedback on aesthetics and public space concepts for the new office building at this week’s Public Power Week events. A community workshop last week followed up on scenarios developed for the Fifth Street campus once the PUD moves and consolidates operations.
- Were invited to open houses to discuss what goes into deciding where to build the PUD’s fiber network next. The gatherings are 4:30-6 p.m. on Oct. 8 at the PUD’s Leavenworth office; Oct. 9 at the Entiat Fire Hall and Oct. 10 at the Manson Grange Hall.
The next regular PUD commission meeting is at 10 a.m. on Monday, Oct. 21, in the boardroom at 327 N. Wenatchee Ave.