We both attended the PUD public meeting two weeks back.The rates are going up and we, the rate payers, are being forced to pay for a whole series of miscalculations by our commissioners, well compensated PUD management and the many consultants the utility thinks we need.
It was pointed out by some, very well-spoken county residents that the PUD policies are hurting the ratepayers on every level of our local economy. We are living on less and our PUD is trying to grow. It makes no sense. As a gentleman from Omak pointed out, Federal, State and Local governments are all cutting back at least 10%. Where is the belt tightening from our PUD planners? Why is a major government contractor, SAIC Energy, Environment & Infrastructure, LLC needed to bring credibility to our once self-sufficient Utility? Will this “credibility” help plans to sell those municipal utility bonds to Wall St. investors. Will they be told the truth about the Similkameen’s low seasonal flows or her endangered Upper Columbia Steelhead hanging in the balance.
The powerhouse at Enloe has been silent for over 50 years. The river has returned as a fishery and recreation has replaced the industrial uses of the past. Tourism, as you so often write, is the hope of prosperity looking forward for Oroville and north county. There is no surge in growth and no shortage of electricity if used wisely, and no demonstrated need to develop new power generation at Enloe Dam. Improving the Similkameen River fishery will help fill those beds around town. The proposed Enloe Powerhouse Project will ruin our most revered and special place, Similkameen Falls, and bury us so deep in debt we will not recover in our lifetime.
I have great respect and appreciation for the dedicated human beings who comprise the Okanogan PUD. I strongly disagree with the expansive direction forwarded by the PUD decision makers. We must stop borrowing and spending money we don’t have now, and probably never will. $38 million is a deep, deep hole and it’s time to stop digging. It’s our future and our river. We won’t be giving up on either any time soon.