[6/20/21] Okanogan County PUD News

Posted in Public Utility

At their meeting Monday, Okanogan County PUD Commissioners approved a contract that paves the way for construction of the rebuilt Okanogan-Brewster steel transmission line.  The contract, 3-point-6 million dollars worth, calls for Michels Power to construct the 20-mile line, a large portion of which was destroyed in last year’s Cold Springs Wildfire.  Since that fire, 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.  We’re told that road work to reach the structures has begun this week, with construction scheduled to begin July 19 in Okanogan, moving south to Brewster. The PUD anticipates work on the project to be finished by the end of the year.  Michels Power is a Wisconsin-based energy and infrastructure contractor, with five offices in Washington state.

In other news from Okanogan PUD, commissioners heard that the district has connected 69 new fiber customers so far this year, that is as many as they connected in all of last year, with more than 37-hundred wireless and fiber connections.  Problem now is a lack of supplies to connect any more customers.

And wholesale power sales have been better than expected in April and May, more than 400-thousand dollars above what was budgeted for.  That’s cut the PUD’s power sales defecit by more than half.

The commission also discussed the possibility of replacing the power transformer through which the PUD gets its power from Wells Dam. Douglas County PUD studies showed the possibility for issues in winter 2023 if the transformer is not replaced.