ABERDEEN – The Grays Harbor PUD Board of Commissioners have approved the utility budget for 2022, and it includes a proposed 2% rate increase.
The PUD states that the $123.4-million spending plan includes $65.9-million in power purchases and $11-million in capital expenses to maintain and improve the utility system.
“Hats off to PUD staff for putting together a very solid budget for the coming year,” said Board Vice President Jon Martin. “I think this positions the PUD well to ride out the pandemic and come out on a solid foundation.”
While the 2022 budget projects a 2% rate increase for planning purposes, the utility says that it will wait to implement the increase until April.
This delay allows the PUD to factor in elements like winter revenue and river flow, both of which they say are important factors in determining revenue needs.
“This is a case of ‘plan for the worst and hope for the best.’ said Board President Arie Callaghan, who added that he hopes they will be able to avoid a rate increase, but will have to wait and see how the outside factors play out before making a decision.
The 2022 capital expenses of $11-million represent an increase of $500-thousand over 2021 totals.
The budget is divided between five areas that allow the PUD to maintain services to customers: $4.4-million for the distribution system, $2.2-million for the transmission system, $2.1-million for work on utility substations, $1.3-million for telecom, facilities, and I.T. systems and $800-thousand for the PUD fleet.
71% of the budget will be spent on equipment replacement, 22% on work requested by customers, and 7% on new construction and equipment.
“When you live on the Washington coast, you have to have a system that can stand up to the elements,” said Board Secretary Dave Timmons. “This includes being committed to the vegetation management cycle that keeps undergrowth and dangerous trees away from the power lines and maintenance that strengthens the system. This budget has been put together with that in mind.”