Public Power Announcements


Salem Electric Announces Director Elections

President Joe Van Meter

At Salem Electric’s Annual Membership Meeting on May 11, Dave Bauer and Alicia Bonesteele were re-elected to three-year terms, and Cindy Condon was newly elected to fill an open seat when incumbent Carl Beach elected not to rerun for his board position.

At the director’s Organizational Meeting, the following officers were elected to serve for 2017-2018: Joe Van Meter, president; Jeff Anderson, vice president; and Bonesteele, secretary-treasurer.

Other members of the board include: Dave Bauer, Jerry Berger, Cindy Condon, and Paul Ennor.


BPA Selects Joel D. Cook as New Senior Vice President of Power Services

Joel D. Cook, Senior Vice President

The Bonneville Power Administration has chosen Joel D. Cook to be its senior vice president of Power Services. Cook begins his new position at BPA’s Portland headquarters on June 12.

“Joel is a talented and results-driven leader with 25 years of experience in the energy industry,” said BPA Administrator Elliot Mainzer. “His expertise will help BPA continue to meet our statutory obligations and deliver value to our preference customers while adapting to the rapidly changing wholesale electricity market. Joel grew up in Montana, so he is also looking forward to returning to his Northwest roots.”

As senior vice president of Power Services, Cook will be responsible for BPA’s power scheduling functions; energy efficiency; generation asset management; power contracts and rates; power purchases and acquisitions; as well as business relationships with 142 retail utility customers. BPA sells about 30 percent of the electricity consumed in the Northwest.

Annually, BPA’s Power Services business line markets about 11,000 average megawatts of wholesale power from 31 federal hydroelectric projects in the Columbia River Basin, one nonfederal nuclear plant and several other small nonfederal power plants, producing revenues of nearly $3 billion per year.

“I am thrilled about working for BPA and being part of the long-term vision and value that the federal assets continue to provide to the Northwest,” said Cook. “Exciting developments are taking place in West Coast energy markets, and I think my years of experience will add value as policies and practices continue to evolve.”

Cook comes to BPA from Talen Energy in Allentown, Pa., where he served as vice president of Retail Marketing and Western Trading. While at Talen Energy, Cook also led the company’s Energy Specialty Contractors and Renewable Energy business units. Talen Energy is the largest independent power producer in the U.S.

Okanogan County PUD Commissioner Huston Elected to Nuclear Energy Facility’s Board

Update provided by the Gazette-Tribune (05/15/2017)

Steve Houston

Columbia Generating Station stakeholders, representing 92 utilities in six states, elected member utilities and individual officers to the power plant’s participants review board during their public meeting last week in Sunriver, Ore.

The meeting was held in conjunction with the annual meeting of the Northwest Public Power Association. The three utility participants elected for a three-year term to the nine-member board are: Steve Huston, Okanogan County PUD; Stu Nelson, Franklin County PUD; and Tim Cournyer of Lewis County PUD.

The PRB also elected Garry Rosman of Inland Power & Light as chairman; Paul Rogers of Kittitas County PUD as vice chairman; and Nelson as secretary. Officers serve a one-year term.

Rosman has been a member since 2015. He currently serves as secretary on the Inland Power & Light Company’s board of trustees.

Rogers has been a member of the board since 2003. He currently serves as vice president on the Kittitas County PUD board of commissioners.

Nelson has been a member of the board since 2007. He currently serves as vice president on the Franklin County PUD board of commissioners.

The participants review board reviews Columbia’s annual budget and fuel management plans, as well as nuclear construction and purchases of more than $500,000. Columbia Generating Station, an 1,190-megawatt boiling water reactor owned and operated by Energy Northwest, produces enough electricity to power a city the size of Seattle and is the third largest generator of electricity in Washington state.

All of Columbia’s electricity is sold at-cost to Bonneville Power Administration. The 92 utilities that receive a portion of Columbia’s output are located in Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, and California.

SMUD and GRID Alternatives Partner to Provide Solar Panels, EE Upgrades to Low-Income Customers

SMUD (Sacramento, Calif.), in partnership with GRID Alternatives, is working to help customers in underserved neighborhoods save money and energy.

GRID Alternatives is a national nonprofit focused on making renewable energy technology and job training accessible to underserved communities. SMUD has worked closely with GRID Alternatives to help them find candidates eligible to receive free solar electricity systems in SMUD’s service territory. SMUD reaches out directly to customers who are currently enrolled in SMUD’s Energy Assistance Program Rate (EAPR). Interested customers contact GRID Alternatives directly to continue the process and potentially receive a free solar electricity system. The systems are funded by California Climate Investments, a statewide program that puts billions of cap-and-trade dollars to work reducing greenhouse gas emissions, strengthening the economy, and improving public health and the environment—particularly in disadvantaged communities.

SMUD energy experts also work with the selected customers to perform complete energy audits of their homes and determine the most effective ways to improve each home’s energy efficiency. Contractors then install multiple efficiency measures, which can include upgrades to insulation, lighting, weather-stripping, and more. All of these upgrades are done at no cost to the customer.

“We’re committed to helping all of our customers save energy and money,” said SMUD Chief Customer Officer Nicole Howard. “Partnering with GRID Alternatives to provide free solar electricity systems along with energy efficiency upgrades is a win-win for our underserved communities.”

SMUD and GRID Alternatives have completed upgrades to approximately 50 homes in Sacramento County to date. SMUD expects to complete upgrades to another approximately 150 homes over the next 18 months.

“For over a decade, GRID Alternatives has been on the leading edge of creating access to solar and solar technology for low-income communities,” said GRID Alternatives North Valley Executive Director Bob Gragson. “In Sacramento County, SMUD’s leadership has helped us to deliver services to families in the greatest need through our program.”

SMUD is also working to provide energy efficiency upgrades to low-income customers beyond the scope of the GRID Alternatives partnership. SMUD currently has three additional programs (Deep Home Energy Saver, Energy Saver Home Bundle, and Energy Saver Apartment Bundle) that are designed to provide SMUD’s EAPR customers with energy efficiency upgrades. SMUD’s Board of Directors has approved the allocation of more than $10 million to these programs over the next several years above and beyond the current program’s budget.

Chelan PUD Finances Are Better than Budget for the First Three Months of the Year

Higher electric revenue due to colder weather combined with lower costs than expected resulted in positive bottom line results that are $6.5 million better than budget for the first quarter of 2017 for Chelan PUD (Wenatchee, Wash.).

Based on first-quarter results, Kelly Boyd, chief financial/risk officer, said the District is forecasting to finish the year with positive bottom line results of $93.5 million, about $8 million better than budget. That’s while it continues to invest in valuable assets such as modernizing hydro units and to reduce debt by an additional $52 million this year.

Looking ahead, the district is on track to achieve the debt ratio target of less than 35 percent by 2019, as well as all other financial objectives, Boyd reported. She noted, however, that long-term, bottom line results are forecast to decline to about $44 million a year by 2021 as market prices for power are moving lower. Reserves are forecasted to be lower, but still strong, as cash is used to reduce debt and to pay for major projects, she said.

Boyd recommended staying the course on the District’s strategic priorities of reinvesting in core assets and people; reducing debt; and continuing the Public Power Benefit program as funds allow.

PUD commissioners also reviewed the Public Power Benefit program that uses revenue that is already earned and available after all District financial metrics have been met for projects to enhance the quality of life in Chelan County. Based on 2016’s strong financial results, staff recommends continuing the program with $4 million for 2018 projects, but not expanding it given forecasts for the long-term decline in the bottom line. Commissioners will be asked for a funding decision and direction on projects at the June 5 board meeting.

Columbia Generating Station Begins Biennial Refueling and Maintenance Outage

Columbia Generating Station disconnected from the Northwest power grid on May 13 to begin its 23rd refueling and maintenance outage. Columbia is scheduled to be offline for 40 days.

Energy Northwest and the Bonneville Power Administration time the biennial outage to coincide with spring time snow melt and runoff that maximizes power output from the region’s hydroelectric system and minimizes the impact of taking the nuclear station offline.

“During this outage, we’ll install upgrades and do overhauls and refurbishments that, taken together, will ensure continued reliability and efficiency from Columbia,” said Brad Sawatzke, Energy Northwest chief nuclear officer. “That translates into a decreasing cost of power for customers from a tremendous carbon-free resource.”

More than 1,350 skilled outage workers are hired locally and from across the country to support maintenance projects throughout the plant. The added workers join Columbia’s normal work force of about 1,100 employees and bring substantial economic value to the region.

Work crews will focus on replacing 272 of the 764 nuclear fuel assemblies in the reactor core during the outage. Outage work also includes about 1,450 work orders involving approximately 10,300 separate tasks.

“The team has spent more than a year in planning and preparing work activities to make this a successful outage, which means a safe outage,” said Sawatzke.

Columbia, located 10 miles north of Richland, is scheduled to restart and reconnect to the Northwest power grid in mid-June.

Columbia’s electricity output has steadily increased during the past five years in part due to work performed during the plant’s refueling and maintenance outages, work that added roughly 50 megawatts to its capacity since 2011.

Columbia has an output of 1,190 megawatts (gross) while operating at a capacity factor above 93 percent since 2012. Energy Northwest expects to gain additional generation following this outage.

Columbia Generating Station is the third largest generator of electricity in Washington state. All of its electricity is sold at-cost to BPA. Columbia represents about 12 percent of BPA’s firm energy and 9.5 percent of Bonneville’s sustained peak capacity. Ninety-two Northwest utilities receive a percentage of its output.

BPA Will Not Build I-5 Corridor Reinforcement Project

The Bonneville Power Administration will not build the I-5 Corridor Reinforcement Project, a proposed 80-mile, 500-kilovolt transmission line that would have stretched from Castle Rock, Wash., to Troutdale, Ore.

The decision, announced on May 18 by Administrator Elliot Mainzer, caps a comprehensive public process and reflects BPA’s commitment to taking a more flexible, scalable, and economically and operationally efficient approach to managing its transmission system. The project, first announced in 2009, sought to address a reliability issue along a transmission corridor in southwest Washington and northwest Oregon that could lead to power outages.

Following a final environmental impact statement that was released in February 2016, Mainzer promised the region that BPA would conduct additional analyses. BPA began an extensive review of financial forecasts, planning assumptions, and commercial practices. It combined those results with findings of regional utilities and independent industry experts to address the underlying issue – managing congestion along the I-5 corridor while maintaining the potential for economic growth. Through this process, Bonneville determined it could meet its obligations to provide reliable, robust transmission service with a more innovative, flexible approach.

“Given the extensive work we’ve done in the past 15 months with regional partners and others, we are now confident that we can continue to meet the demands on the grid without building this 80-mile line in southwest Washington,” Mainzer said. “We will always make safe and reliable transmission service a priority. We also recognize a growing need to be flexible and agile in our business practices to create the greatest value to electricity ratepayers in the Northwest.”

To read the full release, visit

Alameda PUB Updates Solar Program’s Credit Rate for Customers

The city of Alameda’s Public Utilities Board unanimously approved an updated credit rate for an Alameda Municipal Power solar program on May 15. The board’s decision means that AMP’s Eligible Renewable Generation plan will offer a credit rate of $0.06447 per kilowatt-hour in fiscal year 2018.

New renewable generation customers can sign up for the voluntary ERG plan, which went into effect in December 2016.

The fiscal year 2018 ERG credit rate was calculated using methods and formulas approved by the board. The rate is the avoided cost of excess renewable energy from the previous calendar year’s actual data.

Please note: The ERG program will not impact customers who participate in the net energy metering program. They will remain in the original program for 20 years from their interconnect date.

The ERG program minimizes cost shifting to non-participant customers. Under the program, annual netting of energy generation and usage does not occur. Instead, actual meter reads record usage and generation at normal meter interval periods.

For more information on the ERG fiscal year 2018 credit rate, read AMP’s report here.

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