Public Power Announcements

Annual and E&O Award Nominations Due Next Week

Nominations for the following awards are due by January 31:

  • Life Award, which honors policymakers and managers who are retiring from member utilities.
  • Paul J. Raver Community Service Award, which honors an electric system or an individual for superior leadership in enhancing the role of the electric systems in achieving community betterment.
  • John M. George Public Service Award, which honors policymaking officers of member systems that have demonstrated remarkable service to public power.
  • William “Bill” McCrorie Distinguished Service Award, which honors individuals who have served the interest of public power and NWPPA in an outstanding manner.
  • Homer T. Bone Award, which honors an elected official serving and representing constituents in the NWPPA service territory.

While you are considering award-worthy employees to nominate, please remember that the Engineering & Operations Conference Planning Committee is also accepting nominations. Please submit nominations for the following awards by January 29.

  • Excellence in Engineering or Operations Award, which honors a member utility employee that has contributed to the industry as a whole.
  • Career Commitment to Safety Award, which honors one individual that has made a significant contribution to safety within the industry over his or her career.
  • Safety Heroism Award, which honors a member utility employee or team that displayed an act of unselfish and voluntary assistance to help someone else.

Visit www.nwppa.org/members/awards-nominations/ for nomination forms for all the above awards.


Michael DeVleming Saluted for Enduring Career

(January 21) After 31 years of dedicated service to Vera Water and Power (Spokane Valley, Wash.), Michael DeVleming is setting his sights on a well-deserved retirement and spending more time with his family and riding his Harley-Davidson.

DeVleming began his career at Vera in 1989 managing the conservation department. Prior to becoming a full-time employee, he was an intern for Vera General Manager Kevin Wells in 1987.

Over the years, DeVleming served the Spokane Valley in a variety of community service roles including becoming the first mayor of the City of Spokane Valley. Vera Water and Power benefitted from his commitment to the district and its customers.

As he embarks on his retirement, Vera Water and Power salutes him for his enduring career and sincerely thanks him for his contributions to our organization.


PUD 3 Manager to Serve Another Term on Public Power Council

(January 15) Mason PUD 3’s (Shelton, Wash.) manager, Annette Creekpaum, has been re-elected to the Executive Committee of the Public Power Council for the 2021-2022 term. The 21 members of the Executive Committee are elected by PPC’s member utilities and serve two-year terms. This will be Creekpaum’s second term, holding the position of vice chair, Administration & Budget.

During a panel interview at the PPC’s virtual annual meeting, Creekpaum was asked what she felt was some of the biggest issues facing the region in the near future. She acknowledged that “resource adequacy is going to be a key conversation around the region. Specifically as more intermittent renewable power resources are introduced to the grid displacing our base load generation.”

PPC was formed in 1966 and its mission from the outset was to represent public power in regional forums on wholesale power issues, provide technical expertise to consumer-owned utilities in the Columbia River Basin, and preserve public utilities’ historical and legal first rights to the power generated from the federal hydro system.

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WESCO and Anixter’s Solar INSTA-REEL Wins 2021 BIG Innovation Award

(January 21) WESCO International, Inc., a leading electrical, communications, and utility distribution and supply chain solutions company, is pleased to announce its Solar INSTA-REEL has been named a winner in the 2021 BIG Innovation Awards presented by the Business Intelligence Group.

The Solar INSTA-REEL, a cable management solution released in 2020, offers significant safety, efficiency, and sustainability benefits for contractors and integrators. The INSTA-REEL mitigates risk by eliminating the need for jack-stands when pulling cable and enables smaller crews to stagger shifts to keep jobsites less crowded. Solar INSTA-REELS are also reusable, providing a sustainability benefit while eliminating disposal costs.

“With the combination of WESCO and Anixter, we can offer the Solar INSTA-REEL to more customers in the utility industry, enabling greater efficiency and safety,” said Andy Chacon, director, Strategic Marketing, WESCO. “We are committed to providing innovative solutions that help our customers work smarter today while building for tomorrow.”

“More than ever, the global society relies on innovation to help progress humanity and make our lives more productive, healthy, and comfortable,” said Maria Jimenez, chief operating officer of the Business Intelligence Group. “We are thrilled to be honoring WESCO and Anixter as they are one of the organizations leading this charge and helping humanity progress.”

Organizations from across the globe submitted their recent innovations for consideration in the BIG Innovation Awards. Nominations were then judged by a select group of business leaders and executives who volunteer their time and expertise to score submissions.

WESCO International, Inc., a publicly traded FORTUNE 500® company headquartered in Pittsburgh, Pa., is a leading provider of business-to-business distribution, logistics services, and supply chain solutions. For more information, visit www.wesco.com.


Chelan PUD Commissioners Boost Fund to Help Cover the Bills for People in Need

(January 20) Chelan PUD (Wenatchee, Wash.) commissioners voted Tuesday to double the donations customer-owners have given since March 2020 to Helping Hand, a fund that helps low-income people cover their utility bills.

“I am proud of our community for contributing to this cause,” Commissioner Garry Arseneault said in a board meeting earlier this month. “It speaks to the core of who our community is and the concerns we have as citizens in Chelan County.”

The $40,565 match will be transferred into the Helping Hand fund from the PUD’s Public Power Benefit program, bringing the total of available aid to more than $128,000. For information on how to apply, visit chelanpud.org/helpinghand or call (509) 661-8002.

Earlier this month, PUD staff reported to commissioners that 257 residential customers owed a collective $113,400 in past due balances.

Middle-school teacher Carmen Johnson celebrated the commissioners’ vote Tuesday. She has donated to Helping Hand for several years, and continued supporting the program after she moved out of the county to East Wenatchee last year.

“I work with some of the most at-risk kids, and I know what a difference it makes when they don’t have basic needs met,” Johnson said. “Students don’t come to school ready to learn. Parents can’t parent well. The things I like to give most to are focused on helping families cover the basics, so they can concentrate on the important things in life, like love and learning.”

Ray Bowen, cofounder of Charlie’s Produce and a longtime property owner in Chelan, donated $1,000 to Helping Hand last month after learning about it from his Chelan PUD invoice. He came from a lower-middle class background, and still remembers the generosity of those who tipped him 25 cents for carrying their golf bags when he was 10. (“That was a lot of money back then!” he said.)

“I know there are people in Chelan County that are struggling to put food on the table. And when you have to decide between food and heat, you’re not going to win,” Bowen said. “It’s not about the amount you give, it’s about the giving itself. If you give what you can, it will make a difference.”


Power Up on Solar Power, Santa Clara

(January 20) On January 8, the City of Santa Clara’s (Calif.) municipal electric utility, Silicon Valley Power, successfully deployed two new solar-powered electric vehicle charging stations with three charging ports at each station. One station is located at Silicon Valley Power headquarters for charging city fleet vehicles, and the other station is located at Everett N. “Eddie” Souza Park for free public use. These EV charging stations are the first solar-powered chargers in Santa Clara and build on the city’s commitment to sustainability and building clean EV charging infrastructure.

The new charging stations allow EV drivers to charge their vehicles for free using solar power. These chargers are powered by a solar photovoltaic system with a battery backup and are not connected to the electric grid. They include an emergency power panel for first responders, required no construction, no disruption to city operations, and provide a secure source of EV charging in the event of utility grid interruptions.

This project is funded by Silicon Valley Power’s Low Carbon Fuel Standard Credit Program from the California Air Resources Board funding, specifically set aside to promote electrification of transportation.

“As we continue our commitment to sustainability and powering up our community, we are excited to add even more affordable and energy efficient options to our EV infrastructure,” said Assistant City Manager and Chief Electric Utility Officer Manuel Pineda. “This is just the beginning of what’s coming to the EV industry for Santa Clara.”

Additional public charging stations continue to be installed and activated throughout the City. Visit SiliconValleyPower.com/EV for a list of locations.


PNGC Power Begins Regional Conversation

(January 19) As the Northwest energy industry continues to evolve, PNGC Power and its 15 rural electric cooperative members today announced the adoption of a “Big Three” list of policy priorities focused on ensuring future access to clean, affordable, and reliable electricity. The intentional identification of three major policy drivers will keep PNGC laser focused as the generation and transmission cooperative continues to deliver on its mission in a changing regional and national energy environment.

“We’re looking for a sea change,” said Roger Gray, president and CEO of PNGC Power. “We see that there are major, interconnected issues facing us now. PNGC has solutions to address them.” To deliver on PNGC’s primary mission to lower cost and risk for its members by working together to purchase electric power and transmission, PNGC will focus on three policy areas referred to as the “Big Three:”

  • Working regionally to establish a Regional Transmission Organization/Independent System Operator (RTO/ISO) that works for the Northwest.
  • Shoring up the Bonneville Power Administration’s (BPA’s) competitiveness in an evolving regional energy environment.
  • Supporting rational state and federal policies that enable PNGC to achieve its goal of achieving 100% carbon-neutrality by 2033.

Focus on the “Big Three” will position PNGC well now and into the future. We look forward to working collaboratively with our regional partners, as well as state and federal policymakers to achieve these ambitious policy goals. For more information on this initiative, please visit http://pngcpower.com/future.

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New Commercial Electrification Programs Available at SVP

(January 15) Silicon Valley Power (Calif.) is now offering rebates to Santa Clara businesses for the conversion of certain natural gas-fired equipment to more efficient electric options, as well as the transition from gasoline to electric forklifts.

Heat Pump Air Conditioner Rebates – Conversion to All Electric Heating and Cooling: Silicon Valley Power offers generous rebates for business customers to convert from natural gas heating to all-electric heating and cooling by installing a new energy efficient heat pump. Rebates of up to $650 per ton are available, with an additional $1,250 available to help offset the cost of infrastructure improvements needed for installing the new equipment.

Custom Measure Rebates – Conversion to Heat Recovery Chillers or Heat Pump Pool Heaters: Silicon Valley Power offers rebates up to 65% of the project cost for reducing the use of natural gas-fired equipment through the installation of heat recovery chillers and heat pump pool heaters.

Electric Forklift Rebates: Customers who purchase a new Class-1 or Class-2 electric forklift may be eligible for a rebate of $2,000 per forklift, up to a maximum of three forklifts per electric account. Additional incentives may also be available through the following state programs: Bay Area Air Quality Management District’s Off-Road Vehicles program and California Air Resources Board’s Clean Off-Road Equipment (CORE) Voucher Incentive Project.

For more information on these and other rebates, visit siliconvalleypower.com/businessrebates.


GDS Associates, Inc. Adds EES Consulting Office in Southern California

(January 11) GDS Associates, Inc. announced a new EES Consulting office location in Camarillo, Calif. The additional office will be an extension of EES Consulting, a GDS Associates Company, and will increase presence on the West Coast. Both companies provide engineering and consulting services predominately to public power electric utilities.

EES was acquired by GDS Associates in early 2020 and this additional California office location further supports the mission of offering clients extended capabilities, expertise, and resources from skilled professionals nationwide.

The Southern California office is in Ventura County and will be staffed by Executive Consultant Howard Choy, who has over 30 years of experience in the energy industry. Choy’s experience includes providing executive and strategic leadership for large-scale energy projects and portfolios in the state of California.

“We are excited about the addition of a California office space,” said GDS President David Brian. “This office will work closely with the EES location in Kirkland, Wash., to continue to support our clients on the West Coast and across the country.”

Since 1986, GDS Associates has been a multi-service engineering and consulting firm providing services to a broad range of clients associated with, or affected by, electric, natural gas, water, and wastewater utilities. Visit www.gdsassociates.com for more information.


Member Responses to COVID-19

Thank you to all of our NWPPA members who have shared their policies and practices concerning COVID-19. The following is a clearinghouse of the news releases we have received this past week. We are sharing these here for your information and as a resource for anyone looking to also implement a similar practice. Please send any releases or office updates to brenda@nwppa.org so we can continue to disseminate this information to our valued membership. For an ongoing list of member utility responses, visit https://www.nwppa.org/utility-responses-to-covid-19/.

 

California

SMUD to Light up Buildings in Amber to Honor Those Lost to COVID-19

(January 19) SMUD (Sacramento, Calif.) joins the nation to honor lives lost to COVID-19. Beginning today, through Friday, January 22, the iconic SMUD Headquarters building, the Customer Service Center on S Street, and the East Campus Operations Center on Bradshaw Avenue will be lit in amber lighting in honor of COVID-19 victims.

“As an essential service provider, keeping our employees safe and the lights on are our top priorities,” said SMUD Board President Nancy Bui-Thompson. “While COVID-19 hasn’t negatively impacted SMUD’s operations, its workforce isn’t immune from the pandemic that has touched all segments of our community.”

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Oregon

Financial Assistance & Community Resources Still Available for OTEC Members

(January 14) As an essential service provider, Oregon Trail Electric Cooperative (Baker City, Ore.) knows that electricity is foundational to all other areas of the economy, including essential services such as health care and public safety. OTEC also recognizes that many of our member-owners continue to experience financial hardship during the nearly year-long COVID-19 pandemic and wants to remind those struggling to pay their electric bills that financial aid is still available.

OTEC encourages members in Baker, Grant, and Union counties to contact Community Connections of Northeast Oregon, Inc, where they can apply for funds through the recently expanded Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP), on top helping find other state and federal aid. Members in Harney County are encouraged to contact the Harney County Senior Center for help to apply for assistance. OTEC will also help those members behind on their bills to set up flexible payment plans.

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Washington

OPALCO Board Meetings Open to Co-op Members Via Zoom

(January 18) Beginning with the January 21 regular meeting of the OPALCO (Eastsound, Wash.) Board of Directors, co-op members will be able to sit in on virtual board meetings using a Zoom connection. A link for members to access the meetings will be published with board materials each Monday before a board meeting online at www.opalco.com. Go to the Document Library / Board Meetings & Materials.

When OPALCO shifted to virtual meetings in March 2020 due to COVID-19, staff hosted a Facebook Live session at the beginning of each meeting to continue the tradition of a member comment-and-question period. OPALCO has upgraded their technical capacity to include co-op members for the entire regular meeting and will continue to invite member comments and questions during the first part of the meeting and again at the end of each meeting.

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Member Responses to COVID-19


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