The Snohomish County PUD Board of Commissioners today approved the utility’s 2018 electric system budget. The budget includes operating expenditures of $663 million, nearly the same level as the 2017 budget. There are no planned electric system rate adjustments in the 2018 budget.
“The PUD budget was developed to support a set of strategic priorities, including responsible cost and fiscal management, improved customer experience and continual improvement,” said PUD CEO/General Manager Craig Collar.
The budget reflects a series of cost management successes in several areas through actively bidding contracts, utilizing internal staff rather than contractors, evaluation and utilization of time saving tools and technology, suspending or restructuring underutilized contracts and services and applying continuous improvement techniques to various utility processes.
Nearly 60% of the budgeted expenditures are for the purchase of power and transmission services. PUD purchases most of its power and transmission from the Bonneville Power Administration.
The utility’s customer power demand is expected to decline slightly despite regional population growth, an indication of successful energy efficiency programs, the impact of LED lighting, more new homes being built with gas heating and stronger codes and standards.
The budget includes $93 million in planned capital expenditures; the majority is designated for distribution and transmission system improvements including substation construction and improvements, transmission and distribution line construction, new transformers and pole replacements. Snohomish County is one of the fastest growing counties in Washington, and maintaining strong reliability for customers is one of the PUD’s highest priorities.
As in previous years, the PUD’s budget includes a continued commitment to energy efficiency programs, low-income assistance and renewable energy development. Two new low-impact hydropower projects, located on Hancock and Calligan Creeks above Snoqualmie Falls, are near completion and are expected to be generating power in early 2018.