Breaking News: PUD votes against Enloe electrification
By: Thomas O'Keefe
At its November 19 meeting, the Okanogan PUD Commissioners voted unanimously on a staff recommendation to stop pursuing electrification of Enloe Dam.
The recommendation was shared by General Manager Steve Taylor after a staff presentation showed the total cost of energizing the 100-year-old facility at $87.4 million, nearly three times the PUD's original estimate. Enloe dam is located on the Similkameen River near Oroville.
The new costs for the dam project add significantly to a price tag that has been a concern for a number of years. The project would have provided around 5% of PUD's power supply, at a cost twelve times higher than PUD pays for power from Wells Dam. The cost of power also would have been significantly more expensive than other sources in the PUD’s portfolio. Borrowing for the project would have increased the utility's debt ratio to 70%, a position that would make investing in future infrastructure improvements difficult.
In addition to the costs to ratepayers, PUD staff also cited legal, environmental, and policy reasons for recommending a change of course.
The Commissioners provided staff 120 days to talk with regulatory agencies and Tribes, analyze dam safety obligations and alternatives for future decisions related to the facility. General Manager Taylor committed to an open and transparent process to "look at solutions and develop recommendations built on facts."
American Whitewater applauds the PUD staff and Commissioners for taking the important step not to electrify the dam. We also extend our thanks to our members, partners, and local ratepayers who spoke up about this issue and its importance to the community.
We will be closely following the PUD’s review of its alternatives for the Enloe Dam and will stay engaged as the next chapter unfolds.
Okanogan PUD’s statement on the decision: