Clallam PUD budget projects lower sales

Clallam County Public Utility District staff is hoping this past year's wet spring doesn't repeat next year.

That hope is reflected in the preliminary 2009 Clallam PUD electric department budget that projects $1.3 million less power sales revenue than in 2008 and includes no planned electricity rate increase.

"We tried to look at weather on a normalized basis. March and April and even into May showed higher power usage this year, so we had more sales," said Clallam PUD treasurer Josh Bunch.

"We don't forecast that, you can't forecast a colder winter. We forecast for the norm not the extreme and last year was colder than we'd budgeted for," he said.

Clallam PUD must release preliminary budgets for its electric, water and sewer departments by the first Monday in September and approve the final budgets by Dec. 31.

A public hearing on the budgets is scheduled for Oct. 6 and the commissioners will continue taking comments until the hearing is closed later in the year and the budgets are adopted, Bunch said.

"Last year the budgets were approved in December. So the public hearings can stay open for weeks or months and during that time the board will take any comments the public wants to give," he said.

Clallam PUD's preliminary 2009 electric department budget shows an estimated $69.4 million in revenue, including $48.5 million in power sales revenue - down from $49.8 million in 2008 - a $16.5 million beginning balance.

Projected expenses are $59.2 million including numerous capital improvements totaling $6 million that will reduce the beginning cash balance to an estimated $10.2 million at the end of next year.

Lower power costs from the Bonneville Power Administration are reflected in an estimated $24.9 million for power purchases in 2009, which is $2.3 million less than in 2008.

Personnel costs are projected to increase from $10.9 million in 2008 to $12.8 million in 2009 but costs for operating materials and supplies are projected to be about $850,000 lower in 2009 versus 2008.

In the water department, projected income is $4.24 million in 2009, only $55,000 more than 2008. But water sales revenue is projected to increase from $2.39 million in 2008 to $2.62 million in 2009.

That is due to a 6.5-percent water rate increase approved last year as part of a three-year series of rate increases to fund new and expanded water system infrastructure.

Projected expenses total $4 million in 2009, up from $3.3 million in 2008. Despite the rate increase, the district's water department projects finished 2009 with only $190,000 in the bank, down sharply from a $870,000 beginning balance.

In the sewer department, 2009 projected income is $58,680, including $21,780 in sewer system charges. The projected expenses are $27,750, leaving a projected ending balance of $30,930 at the end of 2009.

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