Work is progressing on Okanogan County PUD’s Tonasket substation, an update on that was heard at last week's PUD commission meeting. 90 concrete foundations have been poured and a control building was installed earlier this month. Wiring, installation of conduit and more is planned in the next few weeks. The rebuild will include replacing the aging power transformer with two new transformers, improving both capacity and reliability for the northern county.
The commission also heard that the PUD completed 429 electric and 68 telecom work orders in 2022. Upcoming projects for 2023 include several rebuilds of underground and overhead systems in neighborhoods, a larger one being the rebuild of the lines serving Aeneas Valley.
In other business, the board approved the first reading of updated wholesale broadband rates, including the addition of a 100GB service rate. The board will revisit the discussion at the next board meeting.
Commissioners approved up to $600,000 for a new transmission line truck with a 100-foot bucket.
Commissioners also heard that the November snowstorm was approved for funding from the Federal Emergency Management Administration; the PUD expects about $420,000 in reimbursements. Funding for the 2020 Cold Springs wildfire and other FEMA events are still progressing.
Chief Engineer Dan Simpson reported that, aside from major events and planned projects, there were 395 outages in 2022. Average restoration time was about 121 minutes, above the national average of 103 minutes due to the geography of the PUD's territory and the additional time it takes to reach many of the outages.