Thursday, March 30, 2017

Northwest’s Biggest Climate Polluter: Scrapping Clean Power Plan Won’t Affect Us (Northwest Public Radio)

Lower Deschutes Water Quality Lawsuit Can Go Forward, Judge Simon Rules (Oregonian, Portland)

Sockeye to Be Moved from Flood-Threatened Idaho Hatchery (Columbia Basin Herald, Moses Lake, WA)

Snohomish PUD Installs Second Energy Storage System (Electric Light & Power)

Twitter Will No Longer Count Usernames against Character Limit in Replies (Consumerist)

Lewis County PUD rate increase (KELA Radio, Centralia, WA)

(Chehalis, WA) -- Lewis County PUD Commissioners voted Tuesday to approve raising rates by an average of 8.4 percent. PUD General Manager Dan Kay says it raises the base charge by 20 cents per day and the rest is on the customer’s monthly usage.
Kay says the average residential customer will see their bill increase by just under $11 per month. He says a major factor in the rate increase is increases imposed on the District from the Bonneville Power Administration.
The rate increase is effective April 1. Lewis County PUD is a not-for-profit, customer-owned public utility.

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Regulators, Puget Sound Energy Reach $1.5 Million Settlement Over 2016 Greenwood Explosion (Seattle Post-Intelligencer, WA)

Higher Rates, Colder Temps Led to Big Bills, City Light Says (KING-TV, Seattle, WA)

As Trump Halts Federal Action on Climate Change, Cities & States Push On (Washington Post)

Governor Inslee’s Carbon Tax Gets Little Love from Washington State Lawmakers (Olympian, WA – Paywall Advisory)

UW Professor: The Information War Is Real, And We’re Losing It (Seattle Times, WA – Paywall Advisory)

Local PUDs Pass Resolution Supporting Columbia Generating Station (Benton PUD, Franklin PUD, Tri-Cities, WA)

(Tri-Cities, WA) -- Franklin PUD and Benton PUD passed resolutions supporting Columbia Generating Station at their respective commission meetings today. The local utilities believe that baseload, or full-time, generation must be included in their resource mix for reliability of the grid. Columbia’s power is continuously available regardless of weather conditions, and is therefore well suited to support reliable power grid baseload and capacity demand, including backing up increasing levels of intermittent renewable wind and solar power.

Both PUDs are members of Energy Northwest, a Washington state joint action agency committed to producing electricity from carbon-free generating resources.

Columbia’s power is generated at a sustaining cost of 4.2 cents per kWh, competitive with natural gas and hydropower and less expensive than wind and solar power.

The nuclear energy facility, located in Richland, Washington, is the largest source of carbon-free electricity in the state after the indigenous supply of clean hydroelectric power. Columbia Generating Station has an exemplary record of safe and reliable operation, producing enough baseload, low-cost, carbon-free electricity each year to supply a city the size of Seattle. The replacement of Columbia Generating Station by a similarly reliable source of electricity would add at least three million tons of carbon to the atmosphere each year which would adversely affect efforts to reduce our state’s goals for carbon reduction.
Both PUDs formalized their support of Columbia by way of a resolution endorsing the nuclear plant’s contribution of safe and reliable baseload generation through its lifecycle for the Northwest’s clean energy mix.

Franklin PUD to Raise Rates May 1, 2017 (Franklin PUD, Pasco, WA)

(PASCO, WA) -- At the March 28, 2017 monthly commission meeting, the Franklin PUD Commissioners voted to raise overall rates by 4.1% and implement a rate design change to the irrigation customer class.

On February 14, 2017, Franklin PUD staff and the Rate Advisory Committee (RAC) met and discussed the revenue requirement, cost of service, rate design and various rate increase scenarios. The RAC recommended to the Commission a 4.1% overall rate revenue increase for all classes effective May 1, 2017. It was also recommended to combine the small irrigation and large irrigation customers into one rate class effective January 1, 2018.

Franklin PUD held three public hearings in March to present information and take comments on the 2017 proposed rate action.

Rising power and transmission costs from Bonneville Power Administration (BPA) are the main drivers for the proposed rate increase.  Franklin PUD buys about 85% of its power from BPA, the Pacific Northwest’s largest energy marketer. In October 2015, BPA’s wholesale power rate increased which impacted Franklin PUD with an increase of about 6%. Franklin PUD is expecting an additional increase from BPA in October 2017.   While power costs represent nearly 70% of the annual budget for Franklin PUD, we continue to look for internal efficiencies and cost reductions to keep rates as low as possible.

Franklin PUD did not implement a rate increase in 2016.

Friday, March 24, 2017

Falling Bonneville Power Administration Revenue May Trigger Additional Electricity Fee (Longview Daily News, WA)

The High Cost of Tearing Down the Snake River Dams (Washington Policy Center)

Could Colstrip Bill Hinder Montana’s Renewable-Energy Future? (Montana Public News Service)

Cannabis Industry Expected to Maintain Growth despite Trump (Spokesman Review, Spokane, WA)

Washington State Governor Inslee Discusses the Destiny of the Human Race with United Nations (KIRO Broadcasting, Seattle, WA)

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Mason County Sheriff’s SWAT Responds to Phony Report of Shootings (KMAS Radio, Shelton, WA)

Inslee to Talk about Climate Change at United Nations (Spokesman Review, Spokane, WA)

Tacoma Public Utilities Board Offers Revamped Plan for Power Rate Hikes (News Tribune, Tacoma, WA – Paywall Advisory)

Oregon Solar Aims to Provide Ten Percent of State’s Electricity by 2027 (Portland Business Journal, OR)

Poor Sanitation, Safety Targeted In Federal Bill to Improve Columbia River Tribal Fishing Sites (Oregonian, Portland)

Centralia Coal Transition Weatherization Board Supports Lewis County Public Utility District Energy Efficiency Programs (Lewis County PUD, Chehalis, WA)

(CENTRALIA, WA -- The Centralia Coal Transition Grants Weatherization Board is pleased to announce it has approved a grant to Lewis County Public Utility District (“District) to supplement the energy efficiency programs available to their customers.

The grant amount of $842,250.00 will leverage existing resources to provide qualified customers with technology to improve their home efficiency with ductless heat pumps, support K-12 school energy efficiency improvements as well as supplement existing or pending programs to upgrade windows, insulation, lighting, lighting controls and other custom projects offered to District customers.

The Weatherization Board was formed as a result of the 2011 Agreement between TransAlta and the state of Washington to transition the Centralia plant away from coal-fired operations with one unit shutting down in December, 2020 and the second unit in December, 2025. The Mission of the Weatherization Board is to provide funding of projects to improve energy efficiency and weatherization within Lewis County and South Thurston County.

“The grant dollars will leverage the opportunities the District has to offer to improve energy efficiency and weatherization and directly make a positive impact to their customers, whether it be a customer household, school or local business” says Shane Bluhm, Weatherization Board Member. “One of the goals of the board is to support projects that provide cost effective weatherization solutions that demonstrate an energy cost savings for those living and working in the local community. The plan outlined in the District application meets that goal.”

Lewis County Public Utility District is a municipal corporation of the State of Washington, formed by the people of Lewis County to provide electric service. The District maintains an Energy Services department that offers customers a variety of residential, commercial and industrial conversation programs including a free energy audit.

”Partnering with the Weatherization Board will create local jobs, allow for investment in schools, and help maximize the value and comfort from every bit of energy distributed to customers.” – Chris Roden, PUD Power and Business Services Manager.

Funding Boards

Annual payments for the funding boards have been made for the past five years with the last payment due Dec. 31, 2023.  The opportunity to start flowing dollars into projects became effective December 31, 2015.

Weatherization Board ($10M): established to fund energy efficiency and weatherization for the residents, employees, business, non-profit organizations and local governments within Lewis County and South Thurston County; up to $1 million shall be allocated to fund residential energy efficiency and weatherization measures for low-income and moderate-income residents of Lewis County and South Thurston County.

Economic & Community Development Board ($20M): established to fund education, retraining, economic development, and community enhancement; at least $5M shall be allocated to fund education, retraining and economic development specifically targeting the needs of workers displaced from the Centralia facility.

Energy Technology Board ($25M): established to fund energy technologies with the potential to create environmental benefits to the state of Washington.

For more information on the Centralia Coal Transition Funding Boards visit:

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

PacifiCorp Says Smarter Use of Coal Is Cleaning Up Its Grid (Portland Business Journal, OR)

Washington State Fines Cascade Natural Gas $1 Million over Safety Violations (Associated Press)

Big Wind Development Returning to Gilliam County, Oregon with a Mystery Power Buyer (Portland Business Journal, OR)

Oregon Backs Off Hard Stand, Curtails Some Gillnetting on Columbia River (Spokesman Review, Spokane, WA)

Washington State GOP Senators Propose Two-Year Budget with No General Tax Increase (Spokesman Review, Spokane, WA)

Friday, March 10, 2017

Internal Whitman County Audit Now ‘Ongoing’ Following Arrest of Former Shelton Finance Director (Whitman County Gazette, Colfax, WA)

(COLFAX, WA) – When Whitman County Auditor Eunice Coker received a call from the Shelton Police Department two weeks ago and was informed that former county Finance Director Cinnamon Brown had been arrested in Shelton on embezzlement charges, she was both surprised and nervous.

“At first, I wasn’t real calm,” said Coker. Coker Tuesday advised county commissioners an internal audit investigation has been launched here to see if any fraud was committed here during Brown’s three-year stint as finance director. So far they have not found anything, the auditor reported.

Brown was first employed by the county in 2008 in the environmental health department before moving to public health and then named finance director in 2013.

Coker reported she spoke with the state auditor’s office Wednesday, March 1, via telephone, and they advised her to check off on the local review in two months. She said the state office would likely send a team to investigate if something turns up in the review, which is now underway.

Sheriff Brett Myers told the Gazette last week that no criminal case is being pursued against Brown here, but if something was to come to light, a case would be pursued. Coker said the state auditor’s office is taking the same approach.

Coker said the auditor’s office has given the county a checklist of areas to investigate and how to investigate them. Commissioner Art Swannack, in the commissioners meeting Monday, said the investigation is ongoing, but not all processes involved will be made public.

“Spring Ahead” Sunday, Change Smoke Detector Batteries (KELA Radio, Centralia, WA)

(CENTRALIA, WA) – This Sunday we “spring ahead” to Daylight Saving Time.

When you change the time on your clocks, local fire departments urge you to remember to change the batteries in the smoke detectors in your home.

Laura Hanson with Lewis County Fire District 5 says statistics show you have a 50-percent greater chance of surviving a home fire with a working smoke detector. Fire officials also recommend that you replace smoke detectors if they are ten years old or older.

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Reports: White House Could Shutter EPA’s Energy Star Program (Utility Dive)

Tacoma Power Rep Says Mossyrock Dam Failure Unlikely – Lower Riffe Lake Levels Still Necessary (Chronicle, Centralia, WA)

Plans for Idaho Dam Water Release Poses Threat to Fish (Spokesman Review, Spokane, WA)

Spurned by Google Fiber, Oregon Considers Rescinding Gigabit Tax Break (Oregonian, Portland)

Wrong Plug, Wrong Outlet? Dutch Meter Study finds False Readings (Mason PUD 3, Shelton, WA)

Monday, March 6, 2017

Report: Restoration Efforts in Columbia Basin Helping Salmon (Associated Press)

Oregon State Senate Republican Leader: ‘Portland General Electric Must Be Stopped’ (Portland Business Journal, OR)

Wind Industry Drives Columbia County Wages Skyward (Walla Walla Union-Bulletin, WA)

Trump Proposal: Slash Puget Sound Cleanup Money by 93 Percent (Seattle Post-Intelligencer, WA)

Will California’s Power Grid Be Able to Keep Up with Legal Marijuana’s Demand? (Los Angeles Business Journal, CA)

Friday, March 3, 2017

U-S Senate Votes to Confirm Former Texas Governor Rick Perry as Energy Secretary (Washington Post)

Washington State’s U-S Senators Join Effort Urging Feds to Be Hands off on State Marijuana Laws (Washington Wire, Olympia, WA)

War of the Wells: Hirst Decision Draws Stealthy Demonstration to Washington State Capitol (Northwest Public Radio)

Amazon Blames Human Error for Cloud-Service Disruption (Reuters)

Another Bout of Snowfall in the Forecast for Puget Sound (KIRO Broadcasting, Seattle, WA)