CRPUD Board Adopts Slimmer Budget for 2023

Deer Island, OR – December 21, 2022 – The Columbia River People’s Utility District Board of Directors adopted a $43.2 million Operating and Capital Budget for 2023 during their December meeting. The adopted budget represents a 2.2% decrease from 2022.

“This budget allows CRPUD to maintain the excellent service that our customers have come to expect while keeping our rates as some of the lowest in the country,” said General Manager Michael Sykes.

System Improvements

A significant portion of the budget – $8.8 million – is allocated to new equipment, technology and facility improvements, customer work, and system improvement projects. This includes $2.85 million for construction of a substation in Deer Island and the connection of it to the system.

In addition to the $1.2 million in construction costs for the substation, approximately $445,000 is budgeted for the construction of a transmission line to allow the substation to be energized. Another $555,000 is budgeted to build a transmission line connecting the Deer Island Substation to the Rosehill Substation to create redundancy in the system. The PUD has also budgeted about $650,000 to build a feeder tie between the Deer Island Substation and the Goble Substation.

Overhead to underground projects are planned on Apple Valley Road in Scappoose and Grey Cliffs Drive in St. Helens. These projects, totaling around $725,000, will help lessen the risk of winter storms or wildfires negatively impacting PUD infrastructure.

The PUD is also entering year two of a 5-year meter replacement project. Roughly $900,000 is budgeted for this project. The PUD is in the process of replacing all meters in its system.

“Thanks to the leadership of the Board and staff, we have built an electric utility that is well positioned to maintain and expand our service to meet the needs of our customers and future customers,” Sykes said. “We are convinced that by keeping our rates low we can continue to take care of the needs of our customers and be an attractive place for new customers to bring their businesses.”

Cash Balance

The Budget calls for the PUD to end 2023 with a cash balance of $9.8 million. This is a $2.7 million drawdown from the projected 2022 year-end balance of $12.5 million. A major contributing factor to the cash decrease is the decision to fund the construction of the Deer Island Substation with cash reserves rather than incurring new debt.

The PUD currently has no outstanding long-term debt and no plans to take on new long-term debt.