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Chelan County PUD commissioners get look ahead for maintaining highly reliable power

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(Image by GoLakeChelan.com)

Board reviews factors that are impacting reliability for the electric distribution system.

WENATCHEE, WA – Chelan County PUD commissioners Monday took a look into the future to make sure the District’s distribution system continues to meet customer-owner expectations that their electric service is highly reliable.

Chad Rissman, Distribution Engineering and Asset Management director, outlined goals for commissioner consideration to serve growth, maintain highly reliable service and meet compliance and contractual obligations, and what it will take to meet those goals.

Rissman said it’s important to recognize and respond to factors now that can impact the PUD’s service in the future. “We are highly reliable and we want to stay there. To maintain that, we need to do more,” Rissman said.

Monday’s distribution system review set the stage for continued analysis as part of the District’s five-year business planning. Goals for 2018-2022 will guide staff in developing next year’s budget.

Rissman outlined challenges that include forecasted growth in power demand, balancing reactive maintenance with planned replacements and meeting new industry standards. Steps are needed to make sure aging substations, electric lines and related equipment are replaced to keep service reliable, and to build new capacity. Thirteen of the existing 34 substations are at 80 percent of capacity and 11 substations are more than 40 years old.

In January this year, the distribution system set a record peak load of 500 megawatts.

Next steps for the five-year plan are:

  • Evaluate resources needed and dive deeper into managing the assets
  • Target planned replacements with the highest return
  • Meet compliance standards
  • Increase the ability for contract work
  • Stay reliable and reduce customer impacts
  • Meet forecast capacity to serve new and existing customer electric load growth

Rissman said he’ll bring recommendations on how to do that to the board next month. (Discussion at 0:04-01:07 on the board meeting recording)

In other business, commissioners:

1.) Heard an update on community feedback on transmission line routes for the new Bavarian Substation planned for construction in 2019 to serve Leavenworth growth. Of the 18 neighbors at a Sept. 6 meeting, most favored Alternative 3, saying it would have the least visual impact on the neighborhood. At an estimated $1.4 million, it is also the least-cost option, crossing PUD and county land that doesn’t require additional easements. Comments on the proposed routes are open until Sept. 30. Commissioners will be asked to choose a route next month. (01:40-01:55)

2.) Reminded customers of the special board meeting at 9 a.m. on Tuesday, Sept. 19, in the boardroom, set for an update on possible locations for a new substation on the north shore of Lake Chelan.

Upcoming events:

Commissioners will hold a special board meeting at 9 a.m., in the boardroom onTuesday, Sept. 19, followed by a workshop starting at 1 p.m. at Confluence Technology Center, 285 Technology Way, Wenatchee.

The next regular Chelan PUD commission meeting starts at 10 a.m. on Monday, Oct. 2, 2017, in the boardroom at 327 N. Wenatchee Ave. 

Chelan PUD records most commission meetings, and a link to the audio is available on the PUD’s home page at www.chelanpud.org. Find us on Facebook.com/ChelanPUD and follow us on Twitter @ChelanPUD.

(Submitted by Kimberlee Craig, Chelan County PUD)

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