rockyreach2016 350Visitors will see a new playground on opening day

WENATCHEE - Where can you stand in the shadow of a hydro turbine, look for a Geocache, hug 42 kinds of trees, enjoy Mama D’s peanut brittle, visit a museum, and get eye-to-eye with a sockeye? Rocky Reach Dam, of course, and we can’t wait to welcome you for another great season of fun, exploration and education.

 The dam will open to the public for its 55th season at 9 a.m. on Tuesday, March 1. The Visitor Center offers free tours of the powerhouse along with the Museum of the Columbia, plus art displays, a theater and fish viewing.

In 2015, Rocky Reach Dam hosted more than 71,000 visitors and welcomed almost 650 tour groups.

Events planned for this year include:

  • May 21 – River Ramble – A hands-on program for all ages offering a full range of events to experience Native American culture
  • June 29 through Aug. 10 (Wednesdays) – Summer Science classes for 6th -8th graders
  • Sept. 8 – Lady of the Lake Info-Cruise – Chelan PUD staff will talk lake level, habitat, snowpack and fish as we cruise out to Manson Bay and back. Reservations required by calling (509) 663-7522.
  • Sept. 10 – Senior Damboree – A fun day of activity and information, focused on senior adults
  • Oct. 22 and Oct. 29 – Hard-hat tours at the Lake Chelan Powerhouse – reservations required by calling (509) 663-7522
  • Oct. 30 – Harvest Roundup

Guests will enjoy new playground equipment in the Rocky Reach Park this spring. The playground has been modernized with improved toys for all ages, taking better advantage of the park space. It’s also ADA accessible. New equipment includes an enclosed slide, swings, and various climbing equipment. Stop by, check out the new play area, and join us in April for our ribbon cutting ceremony once the finishing touches are complete. Watch our Facebook page for details.

Always popular is the award-winning D3 Tour – a GPS-assisted scavenger hunt where visitors can find the hidden treasures of hydropower on the Columbia River. Anyone who finds all the geocaches at Rocky Reach will get a stamp on a D3 passport and a prize. To complete the challenge and receive a unique patch, “cachers” must fill their passport by finishing the geocache courses at all three dams, including Chief Joseph Dam, near Bridgeport, and Grand Coulee Dam, near Coulee Dam, on the upper Columbia River in Washington State.

Guests need to be sure and sample Mama D’s Kitchen at Rocky Reach. Run by local foodie and baker-extraordinaire, Gina Dugger, guests are welcome from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. weekdays with extended hours and weekends April - September. Dugger offers breakfast, lunch and a variety of local canned and baked goods, including gluten-free options.

Other things to do and see at Rocky Reach Visitor Center:

Reserve park shelters for birthday parties, weddings, anniversaries and family reunions at no cost. The grounds are open until 6 p.m. daily, until May 1, when park hours extend to 9 p.m. Guests can reserve Rocky Reach park shelters by calling (509) 663-7522.

Chelan County PUD welcomes visitors to tour the exhibits and the Museum of the Columbia at their leisure. Staff is on hand to answer questions and provide in-depth tours. To schedule a tour, visit our website, or contact Christina Detering, at (509) 663-7522.

The Visitor Center will be open March 1, 9 a.m. – 4 p.m., daily, through Oct. 31. Rocky Reach Dam is located 7 miles north of Wenatchee on Highway 97A. Click for directions.

For questions about the Visitor Center, contact Debbie Gallaher, Visitor Services Department manager, at (509) 661-4960.

wsdot logoFeedback vital to plan’s development; public invited to weigh in at any of scheduled meetings statewide

OLYMPIA – Thanks to a coordinated planning effort, the next 20 years of transportation statewide are beginning to take shape. Now, it’s the public’s turn to help influence the future of multimodal transportation in Washington state.

Released Wednesday, Oct. 21, by the Washington State Department of Transportation, the draft Washington State Public Transportation Plan aims to better integrate all modes of public transportation to meet the needs of Washington communities for the next two decades. In order to gather feedback, WSDOT invites individuals to learn about the plan and provide input online or attend any of the public meetings taking place across the state.

“All of our lives are better because of public transportation,” said State Transportation Assistant Secretary Amy Scarton. “Whether it’s rush-hour commuters in the city, students getting to school or seniors going to the doctor, public transportation helps connect people with their communities. This plan offers a blueprint for how our state’s communities and transportation providers will work together to adapt to our changing world and better meet the needs of the people and businesses in those communities.”

The future of Washington’s transportation system—which includes buses, light rail, ferries, and trails for bicycles and pedestrians—will be shaped through partnerships between communities, government agencies and service providers. This draft plan, developed by WSDOT along with transportation agencies and service providers throughout the state, takes another step in defining these new partnerships.

About the plan

The Washington State Public Transportation Plan aims to improve transportation for everyone. It provides a framework for the next generation of efficient, effective public transportation. The plan also brings state and local organizations together to support economic and job growth, clean air and water, and thriving communities through public transportation.

Get involved

WSDOT and its partners are assembling an extensive list of opportunities for Washingtonians to help shape the plan. The meeting itinerary will ultimately include stops in several cities and towns in most counties across the state. These in-person events are designed in part to encourage the public and stakeholders to engage and provide feedback on the plan, and WSDOT will work to ensure that feedback influences the final plan. WSDOT will accept comments about the plan until Jan. 4, 2016.

pudFitch Ratings affirms AA+ rating with “stable” outlook citing debt reduction and market hedging 

WENATCHEE, WA – Chelan County PUD commissioners Monday heard the good news that the utility’s revenue bonds will continue to be rated AA+ with a “stable” outlook by New York-based Fitch Ratings.

Debbie Litchfield, treasurer, told commissioners the firm reported that the key factors leading to the rating included the District’s:

  • “Exceptionally” low-cost power resources
  • Mitigation for wholesale market risks through its hedging program
  • Strong financial performance and metrics
  • Favorable debt reduction plan
  • Ample unrestricted cash reserves

PUD customer-owners put a high priority on reducing debt as part of the District’s strategic plan.  The utility   earlier this year achieved another milestone of paying down $122 million in net debt as planned, staying on track with its goal to bring down the PUD’s debt ratio to under 35 percent by 2019.  Debt ratio reflects the percentage of utility assets financed by debt.

“We are pleased that an independent assessment of the PUD financial performance places us as one of the highest rated utilities in the country.  It also supports the strong financial policies adopted by the Board of Commissioners and the performance requirements adopted in our strategic plan this year."

”This is a terrific achievement,” said Commission President Ann Congdon. “It’s a great affirmation of the District’s consistent ability to manage through challenges and to establish long-term benefits of stabilizing revenues, while reducing our risks. A tribute to all of our individual and collective efforts to strive for operational excellence every day to make these results happen. Congratulations to all employees for their contributions on behalf of our customer-owners.

Fitch affirmed the PUD’s AA+ rating on Oct. 6.

In other business Monday, commissioners:

  • Heard from Brett Bickford, Engineering and Project Management director that results of further examining the value of rebuilding the turbines at Rock Island’s first powerhouse show that installing high-efficiency turbines would increase the value of the project to Chelan PUD customer-owners by $10 million. Commissioners were told that the significant decline in forecasted wholesale power prices was factored into the evaluation during a check-in on the project.
  • Received an invitation from organizers of the Wildfires and Us community summit to attend the Nov. 9 event at Numerica Performing Arts Center from 3 – 6 p.m. Wenatchee World Publisher Rufus Woods and event coordinator Sara Rolfs said the summit aims to help the community come together to reduce the risk of loss from wildfires. The free event starts at 3 p.m. with an open house and displays by 16 organizations including Chelan PUD.  A program and community discussion follows from 4-6 p.m. and a closing reception.  Details are posted on the Wildfires and Us Facebook page.
  • Were briefed on the next round of Public Power Benefit proposal review. The program was established earlier this year under the District’s five-year strategic plan. Similar to the original review process, proposals will be reviewed by PUD staff, subject matter experts and customer-owner advisory committees. Proposals are due Jan. 1.
  • Discussed proposed District policies related to annexation. Staff will post the draft policies online to allow customer-owners to review the District’s thinking on the appropriate role for the PUD to play in annexation discussions.
  • Were told that energy markets remain volatile with natural gas prices continuing to fall. The District has successfully been able to achieve its budgeted wholesale revenue goals through its hedging program and other energy-related revenue such as real-time service contracts, renewable and Lake Chelan reserves, to name a few. Commissioners also were told that forecasts indicate we are in for another El Nino year, with snowfall amounts at 100 to 125 percent of average through January and then drier and warmer conditions through the end of winter.
  • Learned that there will be a meeting of the community group working with the District on a new substation for the north shore area of Lake Chelan. It will be Thursday, Oct. 22, from 9 – 11 a.m. in the Chelan Chamber of Commerce office, 216 E. Woodin Avenue.
pudCustomers without power can call 1-877-783-8123 to let us know – fiber customers should call their service provider
 
WENATCHEE – As repair and restoration efforts start to wind down during the weekend for Chelan PUD crews, the focus is shifting to removing temporary repairs, installing permanent lines and repairing the PUD’s redundancy in the Chelan Valley. The PUD is slowly getting back to near normal operations and strengthening the system where there has been extensive damage. The utility appreciates the support and patience of the community. As part of that effort, repairing individual services will begin next week. In an effort to identify customers who are still without power, we ask that you give our outage number a call and tell us. The outage hotline is 1-877-783-8123. Any PUD fiber customers without service, should let their service provider know.
 
Today, the five Chelan PUD crews, three contract crews  and two mutual aid crews – one from Douglas PUD and one from Grant PUD – will be working on the rugged terrain in upper Antoine Creek and near Goat Mountain. The mutual aid crews from Grant and Douglas PUDs will be released later today.
 
The PUD cautions that due to ongoing fire crew activity to remove dangerous trees away from power lines and roads, it still may be necessary to de-energize power lines along the south shore of Lake Chelan near the Yacht Club and First Creek. Customers in that area may experience brief outages from time-to-time throughout the weekend as fire crews work to clear hazardous tress. The PUD de-energizes the power lines so that the fire crews can work safely.
 
Chelan Falls, Powerhouse and Beebe Parks all remain closed to the public until further notice. The parks are being used as staging areas for fire personnel and the National Guard. 
 
WARNING: CONSIDER ANY DOWNED LINE AS ENERGIZED AND AVOID IT. CONTACT THE PUD AT 1-877-783-8123 OR CALL 911.
 
Customers who want to help fire victims can make monetary donations to the North Central Washington Community Foundation, www.cfncw.org; or contact the Apple Valley Red Cross, (509) 663-3907.
 
Follow us on Facebook (www.Facebook.com/ChelanPUD) or Twitter (@chelanpud) for additional updates.
pudCustomers experiencing any connectivity issues with internet service should contact their service provider
 
WENATCHEE – Another 200 Chelan PUD customers in the lower Antoine Creek/Chelan Airport area had their power restored today, about 150 customers remain without power. Also, repairs and full power restoration has been made on Chelan Butte. The focus for the crews now turns to pole replacement and restoration in the upper Antoine Creek, including Quiet Valley and the Goat Mountain communication tower, Azwell and Hugo Rd areas, along with restoration of backup transmission that serves the Chelan Valley. Ten crews – five PUD crews, three contract crews and a mutual aid crew each from Douglas and Grant County PUDs continued working today.
 
The PUD cautions that due to ongoing fire crew activity to remove dangerous trees away from power lines and roads, it may be necessary to de-energize power lines along the south shore of Lake Chelan near the Yacht Club and First Creek. Customers in that area may experience brief outages from time-to-time throughout the weekend as fire crews work to clear hazardous tress. The PUD de-energizes the power lines so that the fire crews can work safely.
 
The Chelan PUD thanks all customers in the Chelan Valley for their patience as work continues to bring everyone back into power and internet service by Sunday night. We hope to return to a more normal service response to assist individual customers sometime next week. Customers are encouraged to please check with us on Monday, Aug. 24, if you are still experiencing a power or fiber outage at your home or business. Call the PUD’s 24/7 outage line, at 1-877-783-8123.
 
Chelan Falls, Powerhouse and Beebe Parks all remain closed to the public until further notice. The parks are being used as staging areas for fire personnel and the National Guard. 
 
Customers are advised that even in the areas where power has been restored, there may be some isolated outages due to damaged equipment and changing fire conditions. Customers who are back in service can resume normal power use; customers who are still out of power are reminded to please turn off and/or unplug electronics and appliances and leave outside light on. This will protect your appliances from potential power surges and an outside light will help our crews know who is back in service;
 
WARNING: CONSIDER ANY DOWNED LINE AS ENERGIZED AND AVOID IT. CONTACT THE PUD AT 1-877-783-8123 OR CALL 911.
 
The PUD advises any Medline customers or those customers on medical support equipment still without power to seek alternate housing arrangements, check in with the Red Cross at the Entiat Valley Community Resource Center, 2084 Entiat Way, or go to the Lake Chelan Community Hospital at 503 E. Highland Ave. in Chelan.
 
Customers who want to help fire victims can make monetary donations to the North Central Washington Community Foundation, www.cfncw.org; or contact the Apple Valley Red Cross, (509) 663-3907.
 
Follow us on Facebook (www.Facebook.com/ChelanPUD) or Twitter (@chelanpud) for additional updates.