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2021 Directors and 2021 General Managers Compensation Surveys Are Open
The 2021 Directors, Commissioners and Other Elected Officials Compensation Survey and 2021 General Managers Compensation Survey are now open for your input. Utility general managers and their designated contacts received instructions on how to participate in the surveys on March 2, 2021. We greatly value your participation and time to complete these surveys; the more utilities that participate, the more comprehensive the reports.
The survey deadline is April 9 at which time the surveys will be closed, and results will be available in mid-May. The survey is a utility member benefit and provides relevant and valuable compensation and benefit data. General manager survey data includes industry longevity, compensation, and benefits information. For directors, commissioners, and other elected officials, data regarding meeting frequency, stipends, reimbursements, insurance benefits, AD&D coverage is included for various positions. The final reports issued will be broken down by utility type, employee size, and region.
For further information, questions, or to view prior surveys, please contact Alyssa Shoaf at email@example.com or (360) 816-1448.
SnoPUD Develops AMI Technologies Group to Support New Metering System
(March 2) To support the rollout of its Connect Up program and eventually provide day-to-day monitoring of its future advanced metering infrastructure and network, Snohomish County PUD (Everett, Wash.) recently created an Advanced Metering Infrastructure Technologies group.
The new team will focus specifically on the AMI Head-End System, which collects data, and Meter Data Management System, which validates and processes the data for business use. The team will also be involved in the planning, organization, and implementation of AMI projects requiring work and coordination with diverse internal and external groups.
In February, the PUD named Adam Peretti as AMI Technologies manager. Peretti, who was an engineer in the PUD’s Standards and Distribution Services groups prior to being promoted, will provide planning and support for the PUD’s Connect Up program and be responsible for the ongoing, day-to-day operations of the AMI system once fully installed.
Eventually, the plan is for the team to be made up of four utility analysts specializing in areas the AMI Technologies team will work with regularly, including metering, telecom, billing, and ITS. The PUD is currently accepting applications for two AMI Tech Analyst job openings.
“These positions will be leaders within the AMI Technologies team and help develop best practices for the MDMS and head-end system,” said Peretti. “As the PUD transforms into the ‘utility of the future,’ the employees hired for these positions will be joining on the ground floor. It’s an exciting opportunity.”
Approved in 2020, the PUD’s Connect Up program is an infrastructure and technology project that includes the deployment of new metering technology to benefit both customers and the utility. The program is currently working through vendor evaluation and selection, with plans to begin meter installation in 2023.
Salem Electric Supports the Lower Snake River Dams and the Federal Columbia River Power System
(March 1) Salem Electric (Ore.) is pleased to announce that on February 23, 2021, its board of directors adopted a resolution that reaffirms its support of clean, renewable hydropower provided by the Federal Columbia River Power System in the Northwest and opposes the removal of any of the lower Snake River and Columbia River dams, or further changes in dams or operations that are not science-based or cost-effective.
Further, the board supports the 2020 Federal Columbia River Power System Operations Environmental Impact Statement and Biological Opinion which indicates that the current Columbia River System Operations do not violate the Endangered Species Act’s protections for fish and wildlife.
Salem Electric believes that utility customers and dam operators have made significant investments in improvements to the dams and in hydro system operations to benefit fish and wildlife that are contributing to an increase in salmon survival. Salem Electric further supports the Columbia Basin Collaborative which will bring together regional stakeholders (including the governors of Oregon, Washington, Idaho, and Montana; Native American tribes; and selected others) to help develop solutions to recover endangered salmon within the Columbia River Basin.
Tony Schacher, general manager at Salem Electric, said, “The dams of the lower Snake River provide reliable and affordable electricity to not just the members of Salem Electric, but to homes and businesses throughout the region. When the winds are calm or the skies are dark, wind and solar power do not generate enough electricity to meet the demand. Without these dams, the need for alternative renewables and batteries will substantially increase the cost of electricity in the Northwest.”
EWEB to Begin Native Habitat Restoration at Future Water Storage Site
(February 25) As part of an effort to restore natural habitat at a future water storage site, the Eugene Water & Electric Board (Ore.) is teaming up with Friends of Trees to plant a variety of native trees.
Later this year, EWEB will start construction on a partially buried water storge tank on an undeveloped 10-acre property near East 40th Avenue and Patterson Street in south Eugene. The lot has been largely undisturbed since EWEB purchased it in the 1950s. However, the parcel will be put to its long-planned purpose with the construction of a 7,500,000-gallon water storage facility that, when complete, will serve drinking water to all Eugene homes and businesses.
The property is fairly unique as it is home to increasingly rare oak savanna habitat. EWEB is planning to site the storage tank to preserve as much high-value habitat and natural space as possible. The utility is working with a professional arborist and ecologist on how to best preserve and support sensitive species during construction and restore the site to enhance the habitat afterwards.
One of the first restoration projects happened on February 27, when volunteers with Friends of Trees planted native trees on the south side of the ridgeline.
The species selected by Friends of Trees include white and black oaks, valley ponderosa pine, incense cedar, pacific madrone, and Oregon myrtles—species that are consistent with the oak and prairie-dominated habitat that historically characterized the area.
Oak woodland and savannah habitats are some of the most endangered habitats in the Pacific Northwest and are a statewide priority for conservation in the Willamette valley.
Learn more about EWEB’s water storage improve projects at eweb.org/waterstorage
Franklin PUD Creates Video Asking the Question: Could a Power Outage Like the One in Texas Happen in the Pacific Northwest?
(February 25) As Texas thaws out from the cold and shock of power outages that left four million people in the dark, many people across the Northwest are wondering if something like that could happen here. In response to those questions Franklin PUD’s (Pasco, Wash.) public relations director, Mike Gonzalez, created a video explaining why the Pacific Northwest is in a much better position than Texas.
“We felt like it was very important to educate our customers and people across the state about our infrastructure and how hydroelectricity is such an integral part of that,” said Gonzalez.
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 firstname.lastname@example.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/.
Chelan Opens Walla Walla Point Park Lots to Support Vaccine Efforts
(March 3) Chelan PUD (Wenatchee, Wash.) continues to provide support for Chelan-Douglas Health District’s vaccination efforts at Town Toyota Center. In a report to PUD commissioners, staff outlined a plan to use parking lots at Walla Walla Point Park to help the health district vaccinate more people in North Central Washington.
Volunteers will direct vaccination traffic into a line that travels through about half of the parking areas at Walla Walla Point Park, then on to Town Toyota Center. That means parking will be limited to the northern lots, near the ballfields, at Walla Walla Point Park at least through June. Park users may also find available spots at Linden Tree at Ninth Street and Walla Walla Avenue, or Riverfront Park at the end of Fifth Street.
Since vaccination began at Town Toyota Center, Chelan PUD has provided snow removal, security, radios, fuel, and power generation in support of the effort.