The Okanogan PUD decision to electrify Enloe Dam is the biggest waste of resources in the history of the utility. Never has so much time, money and resources been spent to gain so little. The 2016 Rocky Mountain Econometric Report published in part by the Methow Valley News in the July 20 issue clearly shows how far from reality the pursuit of electrification at Enloe Dam has taken us. The project today is estimated to cost $60 million or more to complete. That is double the cost estimate of just eight years ago. It will produce power at three to four times the cost of open-market power in the Northwest. It will generate annual losses of $1.5 million-$2 million. Over the 50 years of the license, these annual losses will compound and grow to a PUD Enloe Project debt of several hundred million dollars.
These losses will be paid by the ratepayers. By state law, a public utility cannot claim bankruptcy. It must raise the rates to their customers to recover losses incurred from operations. PUD commissioners, managers and staff have spent nearly 40 years and at least $20 million in pursuit of electric generation at Enloe Dam. The river, even with state-of-the art turbine technology, cannot produce enough power to pay its own cost of operations. Who will be accountable for this gross error in judgment? It is the ratepayers of Okanogan PUD that will be paying the high price for the rest of our lives and our children’s lives as well. Email your PUD commissioners today.
Joseph Enzensperger, Oroville