Aberdeen, WA – The Grays Harbor PUD Board of Commissioners passed a resolution declaring a state of emergency as the utility deals with the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, and they postponed their proposed rate increase.
The PUD says the commissioners approved the resolution at a special board meeting on Tuesday that allows General Manager Dave Ward to take “appropriate and legal action to ensure the health and safety of utility employees and the public.”
“The goal of this resolution is to allow for swift and necessary action to protect utility staff and ensure our ability to provide critical utility services to the public,” said Board President Russ Skolrood. “The severity of the situation calls for the Board to undertake unprecedented measures to ensure a safe environment, a healthy staff and our ability to serve our customers.”
Under the resolution, the General Manager is authorized to declare a state of emergency and take action related to the COVID-19 threat.
The Board will receive regular updates from the General Manager and will withdraw the emergency authority when the crisis situation has abated.
For the time being the utility will continue to offer customer service which encompasses the now common practice of social distancing.
The PUD says their public lobbies have been closed with customers now encouraged to use online or mobile devices to pay bills or use the Customer Service drive-thru window.
Customers who encounter difficulty paying utility bills as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak are encouraged to contact Customer Service at (360) 532-4220.
In addition, the Board has agreed to postpone a proposed 2% rate increase which was to have taken effect on May 1.
The increase, driven by rising costs in the power market, will not be enacted until after the COVID-19 crisis has lessened.