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Posted on Dec 23, 2017

Grant PUD commissioners set 2018 budget

Grant PUD commissioners on Dec. 12 unanimously adopted a $274.2 million budget for 2018 that reflects a $33 million decrease in net expenditures from 2017, the utility announced.
The budget anticipates a positive bottom line of $57.3 million that will be reinvested in electricity generation, delivery and environmental assets. The budget also furthers goals to keep the utility financially strong and energy prices as affordable as possible for customers, Grant PUD said.
“Our 2018 budget delivers on our customers’ expectation that we provide reliable and affordable energy,” said PUD General Manager Kevin Nordt in a press release. “Our healthy local economy depends on affordable power. Grant PUD’s low rates are a major draw for businesses moving to our ar-ea, leading the way to more job opportunities and services for residents across our county. That’s just one of the reasons we’re committed to keeping prices low – because we know the vitality of our region depends on it.”
The approved budget contains $139.6 million for capital spending on projects that include continued rehabilitation of the aging generators and turbines at Priest Rapids and Wanapum dams, needed electric system improvements pushed by the county’s growing demand for electricity, the utility’s new advanced meter program, and new recreation amenities.
Other key cost drivers in the approved budget include $110.8 million for operations and maintenance – an increase of less than 1 percent over 2017 – as well as $92.3 million for payments on the PUD’s $1.35 billion in total debt, and tax payments of $17.1 million, Grant PUD said.
On the heels of an extensive public outreach campaign, commissioners also allocated $7 million dollars toward the continued expansion of Grant PUD’s high-speed fiber optic network. In separate action, commissioners OK’d an increase of $3 per month to the basic and premium wholesale fiber access fee. These fees will be passed on to local internet service providers, Grant PUD said.
The approved budget meets the commission’s goals of managing overall costs within a small, predictable, 2 percent annual increase in electricity rates, which are slated for implementation this spring. Commissioners will review the rate recommendation and give the public opportunities for input before taking action.

By Post-Register Staff

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