The Similkameen River is thundering over Coyote Falls, down through her canyon west of Oroville and putting on a show for all eager to witness the raw power of nature. Snow melt coming down the watershed, raising Palmer Lake, bringing new life into this diverse ecosystem as it has for 10,000 years. The river and all the life it sustains is a priceless treasure, and a source of life we must preserve and protect.
Downstream at the PUD headquarters, our PUD Commissioners, Manager Grubich and staff are up to their eyeballs in debt, and planning to raise our rates another 13% this year and another 13% next year. All this on top of the added meter fees, added basic fees and 19% increase of the last three years. This was published in the Chronicle, “Utility Rate Hikes Proposed”, May 1, 2013. The PUD will spend $3.9 million this year just to service its $29 million dollar debt. The Utility also plans to sell 64.4 million dollars in municipal bonds to Wall St. investors. The bonds will sell because investors realize we are a captive market, with no choice except to pay whatever the PUD demands. $35.2 million dollars of the bond revenue is budgeted for the proposed powerhouse at Enloe Dam. At current wholesale power rates of $26/ megawatt/hour and a production cost of $58/megawatt/hour, we would lose $32 dollars on every megawatt produced. With new energy sources, wind and solar, providing new power to the nation’s grid and consumers using less energy, $1.75 million less in our utility district last year, wholesale prices are predicted to remain low into the future.
The Similkameen River needs protection from this unwarranted destruction. Tens of millions have been spent on projects with little popular support, diesel generators, Pateros substation and Methow transmission line, fiber optics cables, and a new Headquarters Building in Okanogan. Let’s limit the debt to the $29 million we already owe. Developing power at Enloe Dam would produce only two percent of the energy we require with many negative impacts on our tourism, outdoor recreation, salmon, steelhead and Similkameen trail $64.2 million dollars in bond sales with our small population, high unemployment, low wages and incomes, will be very hard to payback in the time required and could spell the end of this Public Utility as we know it. Is it time for new management at PUD headquarters?
Appreciate courthouse security improvements