PUD commissioners discuss impacts of COVID19 crisis on customers , employees, district operations owners

Prepare resolution to postpone adopted rate increase

 

 
WENATCHEE  – Chelan County PUD commissioners on Monday, March 30, spent considerable time talking about the implications of the coronavirus crisis for the District and directed staff to take the following actions:
• Prepare a resolution to postpone the adopted rate increase that was scheduled to go into effect on June 1 for action at the next board meeting on April 13
• Prepare to discuss on April 13 extending no shutoffs of utility service and waiving of late fees past April 27
• Consider whether the PUD can do more to support residential and small business customers who are being negatively impacted by the coronavirus crisis
 “We need to do our part to help our community during a time of need, where we can under our authority,” said Commissioner Randy Smith.
 Board members also heard about the districtwide impacts that the coronavirus is having on the ability to accomplish its 2020 Performance Plan. Those include: (At 00:35 on the board meeting audio recording.)   
• All the PUD employees who can are working remotely, far exceeding the system design and information technology adjustments have been made to allow productive engagement by staff working remotely
• Work practices have been changed to minimize the risk of work needing to be performed without adequate social distancing
• Provisions have been made to ensure reliable electric, internet, water and wastewater service along with meeting all environmental and regulatory requirements
• An increasing number of customer calls are being answered
Those actions mean construction projects are slowed, some maintenance is being deferred and work is being restructured to allow for social distancing. For the roughly 50 percent of meters not read by drive-by mechanism, bills will be determined on an estimated basis until meter readers can safely get back in the field.
 “We are seeking to meet our twin goals of protecting employee and public health while assuring reliable utility services will be maintained,” said General Manager Steve Wright. Added Wright, “Our District plan for work to be accomplished in 2020 has taken some pretty heavy body blows.”
In other business, commissioners:
•  Heard a report that has been in the works for months seeking to better understand how well the District’s program for low income customers serves the need. Commissioners noted the information will be very useful as they consider actions to aid customer-owners during the next months. 
Upcoming events:
The next regular PUD commission meeting is at 10 a.m. on Monday, April 13, in the boardroom at 327 N. Wenatchee Ave.
 Chelan PUD records most commission meetings, and a link to the audio is available on the PUD’s home page at www.chelanpud.org. Find us at Facebook.com/ChelanPUD and follow us on Twitter @ChelanPUD.

 

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