The project would also connect Tokeland to Oysterville, as a back up. PUD #2 obtained a $10 million bond issue in 2000 to accomplish the entire project. PUD #2 reports they have spent $1.681 million to date, but poor management has delayed the project, and General Manager Doug Miller, reports the remainder of the $10 million has been returned to the bondholder. How much and when remains a mystery. Commissioners Hatfield and Thompson want to move forward, Commissioner Swanson wants to stop the project.
Commissioners agreed to schedule public meeting to hear public input, but have not stopped the project.
I took some time to examine the need of “reliability”. Grays Harbor has data reliability; PUD #2 has none. The Grays Harbor data clearly shows good reliability service. There are no complete credible cost estimates for this project by PUD #2, I estimate the project will cost $89 million, which would add well over $30-$60/mo to PUD #2 rate payers at today’s cost, this will increase each year. This will not improve reliability to Tokeland or provide any back up to Oysterville.
So…what is the reason? I believe this is a head fake. Speculation it’s to fund development along HY105, and the PUD#2 has not yet accounted for the unspent funds of $8.319 million from the $10 million are these funds being misused?
PUD #2 ratepayers pay for the principle and interest on those bonds, which is integrated into your rate. I don’t believe there was ever any intent to complete the Tokeland-Oysterville loop.
The big danger to us is debt; it’s like maxing out your credit card, then when a real need occurs you cannot recover. This debt belongs to the ratepayers. Going into debt for no gain is just stupid, and limits our ability to recover from a real problem. We live in a stormy area, just look at the past storm history which will continue, we cannot place ourselves into a condition of huge debt, which increases your electric bill.
Too many citizens are already struggling to pay their electric bill.
South Bend, Wash.
Editor’s Note: This article first appeared on www.hometowndebate.com 8/14/13. If you would like to respond to this story, go to hometowndebate.com