OK, I admit that when it comes to the Lewis County PUD, as long as things are progressing smoothly and rates are within reason, there’s no sense getting involved.
Recently I noticed rates going up, so I decided to check it out by attending the commission meetings (now by Zoom). Here is what I have learned. When presenting the budget for 2021, the management team of the PUD does a very good job of presenting the budget but with their own slant. The manager of the PUD uses the term conservative several times during the presentation, however nothing about this new budget is conservative, I would call it aggressive.
The meeting on Sept. 15 was the second presentation of the 2021 budget and was passed by the three-member PUD commission without batting an eye. In order to balance the budget, they have included a 2.9 percent increase in retail revenue! As soon as the budget passed, a rate increase was presented to include increased new hook-up fees, but also a 3.8 percent increase for all metered accounts!
Now as I understand, the PUD has a 10-year strategic plan and a three-year operating plan, with big shortfalls for each of the next three years. This will likely include rate increases for at least the next three years.
Although the management and PUD commissioners encourage public input at all of these meetings, they are not listening or are ignoring any public input. I would encourage all PUD ratepayers to get involved by attending the commissioners meetings the first and third Tuesdays of every month. If you do not like where we are headed, then maybe it is time for new commissioners!