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Kittitas County PUD Commissioner 1

The commissioner is a member of the board of commissioners that oversees the Public Utility District. The PUD provides electric utility services to the customers of the systems it owns and operates. The PUD is empowered to develop and operate any facilities necessary for the distribution of its utility services.

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  • Candidate picture

    Rick Catlin
    (NP)

  • Candidate picture

    Patrick Kelleher
    (NP)

Biographical Information

What experience makes you suitable for this position?

What are your priorities for the PUD?

How will you balance the PUD’s budget with increased need for customer payment plans during recovery from the pandemic?

Do you support shutting off electricity for non-payment during this time? Please explain.

Experience (Max 500 characters) Business owner for 34 years, Master Electrician
Campaign Phone (509) 925-4463
Town where you live Ellensburg
I owned and operated an electrical contracting business for over 30 years – working on behalf of home and business owners with PUD, PSE, and City of Ellensburg on their electrical needs. I’m very customer oriented; I’ve learned to listen to and be patient with people who are unfamiliar and frustrated with our terminology, wiring requirements, and everything else to do with putting power into their home or business. Being a business owner with employees, I’ve also learned to budget, plan, and be organized.
I would like to see the PUD return to a more customer oriented utility. I would like to figure out a way for PUD to use their own linemen and service techs instead of contracting out those positions to outside contractors for the everyday jobs. I think that would give PUD better control of employee related expenses and scheduling.
I think having our own linemen and service techs would save on expenses. I am going to go into this job with an open mind to see where we can streamline the budget. As for customer payment plans during our recovery from the pandemic, I think if customers and PUD have open dialog about what we expect from them and them from us, we can work together to get through this situation with as little negative impact as possible on both their budgets and ours.
I do not support shutting off electricity for non-payment if the customer is willing to work out a payment plan and stick to it. We need to be more approachable so that if a customer is having trouble and cannot pay, they feel comfortable coming in and talking about it instead of just not paying. We need to work together to solve problems, and listen to our customers.
Experience (Max 500 characters) My most pertinent experience is my active participation as a community member in our local PUDs and national FERC proceedings. For 19 years I’ve been involved in Public Power in efforts to obtain better rates for my Kittitas County community and advocate for the contractual recreational improvements along the Mid-Columbia. By career, I have held different roles in a variety of industries: Commander in the Navy, Vantage Store/Campground Manager, Chevron Manager, and Salesman at Kelleher Ford.
Campaign Phone (509) 899-9490
Town where you live Ellensburg
For the past 19 years I have actively participated in the relicensing of both the Priest Rapids and Wells FERC Hydropower Projects. To participate effectively I continue to attend, either in person or online, the Grant PUD meetings. Visit https://www.grantpud.org/commission-meetings-submenu#archivemeetings and you can follow the Transmission workshop (No kidding, great information). Through this twice monthly meeting attendance I became familiar with current PUD issues such as pole contact rates, Tier 1 power, low income programs, legislative issues, safety concerns, cost of service studies, rate setting and financial reporting for a Washington Public Utility District. These 19 years of active participation has given me vast experience in navigating the politics and maneuvering at both the local PUD level and the national FERC level as a community member. This great experience for any future PUD Commissioner and speaks to my dedication and work ethic for public power and my community.
My top priority is to lower residential rates for all “OWNERS” of Kittitas PUD. This includes Kittitas PUD (3,800), City of Ellensburg (9,200) and PSE customers (20,000). During the past 19 years I have observed Grant PUD, Chelan PUD, Douglas PUD, Okanogan PUD, Yakama Nation, Colville Tribes, Alcoa, Avista, PSE & Others pursue successful but different strategies to receive increased Mid-Columbia Public Power Benefits. Competition for the Rock Island license starts 2023. I will collaborate with our fellow Kittitas PUD Commissioners on how we can compete in this FERC proceeding that will lower residential electrical rates for Kittitas County.
The District started the pandemic in good accounts receivable condition, with most all customers current on their bill. The COVID “situation” changes daily and setting policy to adapt to changing conditions is one of the main duties of a Commissioner. PUDs are governed by the Revised Code of Washington, which must by followed. I would recommend to my fellow commissioners to start taking advantage of the Public Utility Tax Credit Program available through the Department of Commerce, Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program. This program allows the PUD to provide direct funding to an agency such as HopeSource which directs funds back to the PUD. This would greatly assist customers and neighbors in these uncertain times.
Interesting question. At the June 30th, 2020 Kittitas Board Meeting the Delinquency Activity Report noted all accounts 61 days or older was $6,149. At an average bill of $118 month for two months, I am estimating 26 customers needing to work out custom payment plans moving forward. Very manageable without shutting off electricity. The Delinquency Report also noted the largest past due account in the amount of $10,142. This would greatly concern me as a Commissioner. From the report it looks like this account is less than 60 days delinquent.