I am a retired Lewis County PUD line foreman, working from Jan. 1965 to July 1992. During all my years of working and until Jan. 2012, the PUD was always run very conservatively. In fact one year when Bonneville gave a rate increase, the manager and department heads did not accept raises to help keep the rates down.
Since January 2012 the word conservative has been eliminated from the PUD vocabulary. Now they spend more than they receive, go into debt $3 or $4 million dollars and then tell the ratepayers they need to increase the rates. This overspending is caused by a top-heavy management team brought on board by the new manager hired in 2012 and rubber stamped by the commissioners. It seems to get worse every year with no one willing to tighten their belts and live within their means.
In the year 2000 the PUD had $20 million in reserves and it was increasing with interest. The year 2012 started with $18-plus million in reserves. By 2017 there was only $8 million in reserves. The manager and commissioners are spending down the reserves and are still $4 million in the red and want another rate increase. We just had a rate increase last year, now we need another rate increase. It sounds like we will have yearly rate increases if the manager and commissioners pass their new budget as reported in The Chronicle.
What we need is change! Michael Kelly, candidate for PUD commissioner, has power industry experience. He knows about budgets, generation, distribution and pricing of electricity. He wants to analyze and scrutinize the budget so there won’t be a rate increase. I urge you to vote for Michael Kelly for PUD commissioner. He will be a great, conservative addition.