Grant PUD OKs 2020 budget; no rate increase for most
Grant PUD commissioners on Nov. 26 unanimously approved a $291 million budget for 2020 with no electric rate increase for any customer group except the approximately 25 cryptocurrency mining operations classified as “evolving industries.”
According to a press release, the Grant PUD’s solid revenue outlook through 2024 and years of careful budgeting and planning have Grant PUD well-positioned to continue upgrades at Priest Rapids and Wanapum dams, ready the electric system for future growth, continue to invest in technology and extend fiber-optic service.
“There’s been a lot of thought and a lot of hard work gone into this budget process by staff,” Commissioner Tom Flint said in a press release. “The direction we’re going is to justify all the expenses in the budget. This is getting closer to where we want to be in the budget process. I’m certainly supportive of this process and this budget.”
Total expenditures of $370 million include $127.9 million for maintenance and operations, $140.9 million for capital expenses, $18.2 million in taxes and $83.1 million in service on Grant PUD’s $1.3 billion in long-term debt.
A net income “bottom line” of $63 million expected in 2020 will be invested in the utility to help ensure system reliability and reduce the need for future debt.
Grant PUD will benefit in 2020 from consecutive years of stronger-than-expected wholesale revenues by using excess cash to pay for more of its capital costs and taking advantage of low interest rates to refinance some existing debt. This financial plan could save the utility as much as $44.7 million through 2024 if market conditions continue as forecast, according to a press release.