Local News

Rebuild of PUD transmission line set

Sheila Corson
Okanogan County PUD

Jun 17, 2021

Construction of the rebuilt Okanogan-Brewster steel transmission line should begin in mid-July, after Okanogan County PUD commissioners approved a contract for about $3.6 million with Michels Power at their June 14 board meeting.

            A large portion of the approximately 20-mile transmission line was destroyed in the Cold Springs Wildfire in September 2020. The PUD has been able to deliver power through other routes while they planned a major upgrade to the line. Instead of wooden poles, the new line will have steel structures to harden against future wildfire threats.

            Road work to reach the structures will begin in June, with construction scheduled to being July 19. The PUD anticipates construction concluding by the end of the year.

            In other business, the board:

  • Heard an audit report from Olga Darlington of Moss Adams, featuring an unmodified opinion with no material weaknesses, “all in all a very clean report.” The virtual audit focused on capital assets and construction in process, power sales and related receivables, bond activity and financial statement footnote disclosures.
  • Heard that the PUD has hired Tilson Tech to conduct high-level studies for fiber expansion in certain areas of Okanogan County. These studies could help the PUD apply for funding in the months ahead.
  • Heard that wholesale power sales were better than budgeted by about $320,000 in May. Retail sales were also better in April, about $110,000 better than budgeted. The PUD had been about $700,000 behind budget on power sales, but now is just under $280,000 behind budget.
  • Heard that the district has already connected 69 new fiber customers in the first half of 2021; only 68 total customers connected in 2020. Now supply chain issues continue to leave the PUD without supplies they need to connect any more customers. Total end users, with both wireless and fiber connections, are now at 3,725.
  • Discussed the possibility of replacing the power transformer through which the PUD receives its power from Wells Dam. Douglas County PUD studies showed the possibility for issues in winter 2023 if the transformer is not replaced. Both PUDs are working out the plans for moving forward and how to fund a replacement.

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