Public Power Announcements

Clearwater Power Company Announces Telly Stanger as New CEO

(July 16) Clearwater Power Company (Lewiston, Idaho) has named Telly Stanger, MBA, as its new general manager/chief executive officer. Stanger begins on July 29. Stanger replaces K. David Hagen, who has served the cooperative for 40 years and is retiring after 19 years as the general manager/CEO.

“Telly brings a wealth of experience and a strong commitment to our mission of providing reliable, affordable, and sustainable electricity to our members,” shared Tom Hutchinson, president of the Clearwater Power Company Board of Directors. “Throughout the selection process, we prioritized finding a leader who not only possesses the technical expertise but also aligns with our values of integrity, community service, and collaboration. He stood out as a candidate who embodies these qualities.”

Clearwater Power’s member-elected board of directors collaborated with National Rural Electric Cooperative Association Executive Search to help identify and secure Stanger for this critical leadership position. Leveraging their deep understanding of the electric cooperative industry and extensive network, NRECA Executive Search brought a strong candidate pool for the board to consider.

Stanger joins Clearwater Power from Wireless Construction in Eureka, Montana, where he served as a project manager to develop a division of the parent company for telecom construction. Prior to that, he held top leadership positions in the electric utility industry serving as the general manager/CEO of Lincoln Electrical Cooperative and Rural Propane Services, also in Eureka; chief operations/member services officer for Southeast Colorado Power and Southeast Communications in La Junta, Colorado; and manager of economic development and agriculture at Sulphur Springs Valley Electric Cooperative in Willcox, Arizona.

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Recent Heat Wave Nearly Breaks All-Time Summer Power Demand Record for EWEB

(July 15) The heat wave culminating on July 9 pushed electricity demand in the Eugene Water & Electric Board’s service territory in Oregon to the second-highest level ever during the summer.

It’s a preview of the future, with climate-driven weather extremes, home electrification, high-tech manufacturing, and data centers all forecasted to cause electricity demand to surge across the Pacific Northwest in the years ahead.

Temperature is the biggest driver of electricity demand, and the heat wave’s searing temperatures— five days straight over 100 degrees Fahrenheit—reflect that.

On Tuesday, July 9, temperatures hit 105 degrees and electricity demand peaked at 418 megawatts at 6 p.m.— the second highest summer day for electricity demand ever for EWEB. Monday, July 8, when temperatures maxed out at 104 degrees, nearly matched that demand with a peak of 416 megawatts at 6 p.m.

Demand during this heat wave was about 3% higher than similar heat waves in 2023 and 2021, when temperatures also rose above 100 degrees for multiple days.

The only summer day that had higher electricity demand was in 2006, when there was an additional large industrial consumer in Eugene that consumed large amounts of electricity—the Hynix microchip manufacturing plant. That year, on Monday, July 24, temperatures hit 100 degrees and electricity demand topped out at 423 megawatts.

The Hynix plant opened in 1998 and closed 10 years later due to a downturn in the market for microchips. The closure of the plant, and concurrent economic recession, prompted a steep drop in electricity demand in Eugene. Since then, overall demand has stayed relatively flat while peak demand on the hottest days of the year appears to be creeping up.

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Chelan PUD Considers Framework to Evaluate Data Center Requests

(July 15) Demand for electricity is expected to rise exponentially over the next several years, as large-load customers—mainly data centers—seek out potential sites to locate. On July 15, Chelan PUD (Wenatchee, Wash.) commissioners evaluated how the utility can meet that demand in a way that protects reliability and stable, predictable rates for everyone else.

Large-load customers include a wide range of industries, including data centers, manufacturing plants, and other power-intensive operations. Commissioners considered a set of guiding principles to evaluate new large-load requests:

  • Neutral-to-positive impact on other PUD customers.
  • Maintain reliability, and stable and predictable rates.
  • Preserve local control.
  • Achieve a comprehensive and durable framework that treats large-load customers comparably and consistently.
  • Protect existing management of hydropower through wholesale energy marketing strategy.

Building from the guiding principles, staff recommended a framework that allows Chelan PUD to serve large-load customers while also recovering the cost of power and delivery.

  • Short-term supply: Chelan PUD procures wholesale energy from the market and resells that energy to the large-load customer.
  • Customer choice: The large-load customer identifies and procures wholesale energy, which Chelan PUD purchases and resells to them.
  • Negotiated contract: At the board’s discretion, Chelan PUD negotiates a contract which may include Chelan PUD generation, consistent with the PUD’s wholesale energy marketing strategy.

Under all three options, each arrangement with a large-load customer would be presented to the board for approval.

As for next steps, Chelan PUD invited the public to submit comments and questions through Aug. 1. Those comments will be reviewed at the Aug. 5 commission meeting. As early as September, commissioners may consider a proposed service agreement with Microsoft, which is constructing a data center in the Malaga area.


Big Flat Electric Directors, Staff Tour Service Territory

The Big Flat Electric Cooperative Board of Directors and key staff pose in front of the Zortman Jail. (L-R) Patty Quisno, director; Gretchen Boardman, general manager; Roger Solberg, vice president; Alan Van Voast, director; Duane Klindworth, director; Alan Wasson, president; Darren Demarais, line superintendent; and Kari Hammond, office manager. Photo courtesy of Big Flat Electric.

(July 15) Every year near the end of June, the Big Flat Electric Cooperative (Malta, Mont.) Board of Directors and key staff spend a day touring various areas of the service territory.

This year they started the tour at the Wagner substation, where they checked out the newly installed compact modular reclosers. They then traveled around the Ester Lake area and through Lodgepole and Hays. In Hays, they toured the Island Mountain Development Group headquarters with James Flansburg, where they learned firsthand how the operations run and the positive impact the company has to the Fort Belknap Indian Reservation.

After a stop for lunch at the Miner’s Café in Zortman, the group traveled back to Malta on the Dry Fork, Midale, and Regina country roads.


SMUD Sponsors Giving Monday at the Fair

(July 11) SMUD (Sacramento, Calif.) is sponsoring Giving Monday at the Fair to collect non-perishable food items for the Elk Grove Food Bank. Fairgoers who bring five non-perishable, non-expired items per person before 3 p.m. on Monday, July 22, will receive a free ticket into the California State Fair. The utility also hosted Giving Monday on July 15.

“We’re proud of our ongoing partnership with the California State Fair and humbled by the generosity of our community that has shown up each year to donate much needed food to the Elk Grove Food Bank,” said Farres Everly, SMUD’s chief marketing and communications officer. “Last year, fairgoers donated 20,000 pounds of food, and this year we hope to surpass that. It’s these types of community efforts that help lift up our entire community, and we’re proud to be a part of it.”

SMUD is also hosting induction cooking demonstrations in Building B, where fairgoers can learn about the technology, health, air quality, and incentive benefits of switching to all-electric appliances in the kitchen.


EWEB Explores Rate Increases to Cover Rising Costs and to Modernize Infrastructure

(July 10) The Eugene Water & Electric Board commissioners wrestled with the weighty issue of ensuring the long-term reliability of critical electricity and drinking water services while minimizing the financial burden on the utility’s customers during their monthly meeting on July 9.

EWEB, a cost-based community-owned utility in Oregon, plans to invest nearly $120 million in electric and drinking water infrastructure in 2025 and about $1 billion over the next decade to address aging infrastructure and increased risks of natural disasters. Like utilities across the region, EWEB expects to increase customer rates to fund these necessary investments, with a significant portion of the increase covering rising equipment, labor and construction costs, and purchased power costs.

Since 2016, there has been a growing gap between inflation and the rate increases that EWEB passes along to its customers. The consumer price index for water services has increased by 34%, and the electricity consumer price index has increased by 28%. During the same period, EWEB water rates have only gone up by 13%, and electric rates have gone up by only 9%, leaving a gap of about 20% between EWEB price increases and the rate of inflation.

Between now and December, EWEB commissioners will consider rate increases of around 15% for electricity and 9% for water across all customer rate classes effective February 2025. Increases in the cost of energy that EWEB buys from the Bonneville Power Administration account for 5.25% of the anticipated electric rate hike. Actual rate changes will depend on a customer’s classification, such as residential or business, and will be decided in December after multiple public meetings.

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Snohomish PUD Signs Contract for 25-MW Battery Storage Project

(July 8) Snohomish County PUD (Everett, Wash.) has signed a contract with cleantech integrator Ameresco for construction of a battery energy storage system with a 20-year guaranteed capacity of 25 megawatts and 100 megawatt-hours.

The installation represents the largest standalone battery project to date in the Pacific Northwest. The 25-year agreement keeps Ameresco as the asset owner and Snohomish PUD as the exclusive customer of the project. The BESS will provide the PUD with enhanced electrical system reliability and flexibility while reducing exposure to energy price volatility, making the project a significant milestone in the advancement of sustainable energy solutions in Washington.

Construction on the energy storage asset is currently expected to begin in late 2024 and be operational in late 2025.  It allows Ameresco to provide Snohomish PUD the flexibility to utilize the battery energy storage system for charging and discharging activities under the agreement. This long-term arrangement underscores both organizations’ commitments to driving innovation and sustainability within the region.

“We’re excited to work with Ameresco on making this new battery energy storage project a reality,” said John Haarlow, Snohomish PUD CEO/general manager. “Energy storage is a critical component to helping us keep the grid reliable and affordable while also meeting our clean energy goals.”


CMUA Elects New Board President and Vice President

Paul Cook
Craig Miller

(July 15) The California Municipal Utilities Association Board of Governors has unanimously appointed a new board president and vice president for 2024-2026.

Craig Miller, general manager at Western Water in Riverside, California, was elected board president. Miller is an engineering professional with more than 25 years of experience. Miller has been with Western Water for 10 years. He served as deputy general manager from 2013 to 2017 before becoming general manager. Miller joined the CMUA Board of Governors in 2017. He served as board secretary from 2022 to 2024 and became vice president in 2024.

Paul Cook, general manager at Irvine Ranch Water District in Irvine, California, was elected CMUA’s vice president. Cook is a registered civil engineer with over 30 years of experience with water and wastewater systems in both the public and private sectors. Before joining IRWD, Cook served as the manager of engineering for Central and West Basin Municipal water districts in Los Angeles. He joined the CMUA Board of Governors in 2021 and was elected secretary in 2024.

“Congratulations to Craig Miller and Paul Cook for their new leadership roles on the CMUA Board of Governors,” said Barry Moline, CMUA’s executive director. “They are both highly experienced and well-respected professionals, and I’m confident they will successfully lead CMUA as we continue to navigate the challenges and opportunities ahead for California public power and water.”

The California Municipal Utilities Association represents publicly owned electric utilities, water agencies, and gas and oil services statewide. For more information, visit www.cmua.org.


NRU Releases Statement on Columbia River Treaty Agreement in Principle

(July 11) Northwest Requirements Utilities issued the following statement in response to President Joe Biden’s announcement of an agreement in principle on key elements of a modernized Columbia River Treaty.

NRU has long advocated for the reform and modernization of the Columbia River Treaty. As ratepayers of the Bonneville Power Administration, NRU’s small, rural not-for-profit utilities have overpayed to Canada under the Canadian Entitlement for several years.

“With electricity loads increasing dramatically for many of our member utilities, it is essential to both increase power supply and maintain cost stability by retaining as much clean hydropower as possible here in the United States,” said Zabyn Towner, NRU’s executive director. “By reducing the energy and capacity provided to Canada under the Entitlement, the agreement in principle appears to be an important step in the right direction. NRU will continue to analyze details as they become available to determine whether the proposed changes to the treaty represent a fair deal to our member utilities.”

“Since the president is lauding this agreement in principle as a victory, ‘allowing the United States to keep more clean hydropower at home’, I would take this opportunity to call on his administration to cease other activities that threaten our hydropower system. It makes no sense to be in favor of clean, renewable, non-emitting hydropower when it comes to treaty reform, while at the same time advocating for the removal of the lower Snake River dams,” Towner added.

Northwest Requirements Utilities is a nonprofit trade association that represents the interests of BPA Load Following and NT Transmission utilities that rely on BPA for all or most of their wholesale power and transmission services. For more information, visit www.nru-nw.com.


New CMUA Policy Paper Calls for Common Sense in Clean Energy Policies

(July 12) In a policy paper published earlier this month, the California Municipal Utilities Association calls for common sense in developing clean energy policies. In The All of the Above Clean Energy Solution, CMUA encourages energy solutions that consider all ideas, all programs, and all technologies.

“Achieving California’s 60% renewable energy goal in the next six years presents many challenges,” said Barry Moline, executive director at CMUA. “And for 2045, the bigger goal is for all of our power to be 100% decarbonized. We’re learning that this is hard, and clean energy markets are not responding quickly. We need to keep our minds open to a variety of options, including new ones we may not know yet.”

The All of the Above Clean Energy Solution paper encourages cutting carbon emissions and addressing climate change by making smart investments with a full menu of options, not just solar and wind alone.

“Call it the ‘all-of-the-above’ strategy,” Moline added. “By investing in many technologies, we increase our odds of successfully reducing carbon emissions and positively impacting climate change.”

California must move smarter and faster to reach its decarbonization goals. Successful decarbonization requires evaluating and using all appropriate options, including resources like offshore wind, geothermal power, hydrogen, and biofuels, as well as grid support such as energy storage and transmission.

“We need our policymakers to take a common-sense approach that supports a balanced portfolio of energy resources; prioritizes decarbonization; and helps us maintain affordable, reliable electric service for all Californians,” the paper states.

The California Municipal Utilities Association represents publicly owned electric utilities, water agencies, and gas and oil services statewide. For more information, visit www.cmua.org.


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