Utilities

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Contents

  • Utilities Committee Mission Statement, February 2015        
  • Utilities Committee Report & Recommendations, September 2014
  • OWSI Water System Plan Review, February 2015                                             

                                    ——————————————————                                                                          PLVC UTILITIES COMMITTEE                                                   MISSION STATEMENT

      February 2015

The Utilities Committee shall support the stated Purpose of the PLVC “to be a unifying force and work toward building consensus within the community.”

The Committee shall research and become knowledgeable with the various utilities that serve Port Ludlow to provide the following services: water, sewer, electric, cable, internet/NOA Net,  and landline telephone.

The areas of focus shall be 1. Sufficient supply/capacity; 2.  Rates for supplying service; 3.  Reliability of service and 4. Communicating about service and supply.

A primary role of the Committee will be to represent the ratepayers and be an advocate for them.  As such the Committee shall communicate the concerns of the ratepayers to the utilities.

A collaborative relationship shall be maintained with the utility providers and as a part of that, be a vehicle to communicate to the ratepayers and community information from the utility through email messages, articles for The Port Ludlow Voice, and coordinating informational meetings/forums.

The committee shall provide information, evaluations and recommendations to the PLVC Board of Directors relative to any utility issues and subjects.  

(editor’s note: Mission Statement approved by Village Council at February 5, 2015 mtg.)

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The following actions were taken at the November 6, 2014 PLVC meeting;

  1. Motion: Accept the recommendations made in Utilities Committee Report.  MSP: Dean/Nilssen
  2. President Umbreit appointed Bill Dean to serve as Utilities Committee chair.

PLVC Utilities Committee Review                                                                 September 2014

Prepared by William Dean, presented at October 2014 meeting

President Umbreit asked me to be an Interim Chairman until the new PLVC Board is seated. The specific assignment was to interview the existing Utilities Committee members, OWSI, PLA, & others and make recommendation(s) on how the Committee should operate next year.

This review seemed appropriate due to the following situations:

  • The surcharge filing by OWSI has been approved by the Washington State Utilities and Transportation Commission (UTC).
  • Although the time to investigate the pollution was relatively short, less than two years, the time to obtain final approval took almost 3.5 years which seems very long for a $165,000 issue, even considering the potential cleanup liability.
  • PLA/OWSI had publicly refused to deal with the Committee.
  • The Chairman of the Committee had resigned.
  • Community meetings on the Surcharge are filled with significant differences of opinions on facts and distrust of PLA/OWSI.

I come to this assignment not as an expert on utilities, but as a generalist manager with twenty years of working experience in development of residential and commercial properties. This included managing homeowner associations, subcommittees, drilling water wells, overseeing a sewer treatment plant, and remediation of surface and subsurface pollution. I was a licensed real estate broker, but not an engineer, nor an architect, nor a lawyer, but had all of those under my supervision and am familiar with their disciplines.

The interview process included discussions and input from the following individuals:

  •          Dave Armitage                  Lois Ruggles
  •          Tom Claudson                  Randy Shelley
  •          Mike Derrig                       Diana Smeland
  •          Bob Grant                        Larry Smith
  •          Dick Grieves                     Elizabeth VanZonneveld
  •          Phil Otness                       Francis Wickeham

A summary of the comments made by interviewees are as follows:

  1. The oversight role of the Committee is essential to represent the ratepayers who have no other collective voice. This role is not to “run” or “operate” the utilities companies but to be a communications vehicle along with being an advisory source.
  2. The approach of the Committee has been overly extreme in the recent Well 17 situation and should be tempered for the good of both OWSI and the ratepayers.
  3. When disagreements moved from discussing facts to personal integrity attacks, further discussions were not possible.
  4. The Committee is made up of individuals who have developed considerable knowledge and experience. Not benefiting from that in the future would be a mistake.
  5. Some Committee members feel that the current Board is willing to “rubber stamp” any request made by the utility companies and as such they are not interested in participating on the Committee.
  6. If the Board is going to ignore the research and conclusions made by the Committee, why have one. The Board has become a cheerleading puppet of the developer rather than a voice for the residents.
  7. The majority of the Committee still feel the Well 17 compromise was a mistake and that Pope should be chased for all costs of remediation and well drilling.
  8. The Mission of the Committee is not defined and should be developed by the Committee and approved by the Board.
  9. A close working relationship should be developed with OWSI and PUD including having their participation in all meetings. As public utilities, their public financial information should be discussed with the Committee for a better understanding of the collective process.
  10. The Committee has grown and is probably larger than necessary right now. If a smaller number were identified now, additional expertise or experience could be added later.
  11. Current issues needing Committee attention are:
  • Additional Well
  • Sewer Treatment Plant operation and capacity
  • Water Quality Study
  • Reserve Study
  • NOA Net/Cable service
  • Electric Rates – set by County Commissioners

12. The UTC staff is very complete and extremely thorough in their review of all rate related issues. Spending a lot of time second guessing them is a waste of everybody’s time and energy.

13. Per the Articles of Incorporation, the Purpose of the PLVC is to be a unifying force and work toward building consensus among residents and others having an interest in the Port Ludlow Community.

Based on these findings, the following is recommended:

  1. Continue to have the Utilities Committee.
  1. Reduce the size of the Committee to five members.
  1. The Committee’s relationship with the utilities should be of a collaborative nature, recognizing there can be mutual benefits derived from collective deliberations and actions. This is more consistent with the PLVC Purpose than the current situation. This collaborative approach would not change the aspect of the Committee to represent and be an advocate for the ratepayers.
  1. The Committee needs to do a better job of providing facts and information to the Board so the PLVC can be more effective in communicating with and receiving input from the Community.
  1. The Committee should immediately develop a Mission Statement to be approved by the PLVC Board. Representatives from OWSI and PUD should be included in developing this Statement.
  1. Representatives of OWSI and PUD shall be invited to all meetings where their respective utilities are being discussed, although not as voting members.

William Dean                                                                                                         10/7/2014

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