Friday, August 07, 2020
63.0°F

Grant PUD profit beats 2019 projection

by Cheryl Schweizer
Staff Writer | February 5, 2020 11:18 PM

Retail revenue higher than target

EPHRATA — Grant County PUD made slightly more money in 2019 than projected in the 2019 budget. The utility beat budget projections even after commissioners decided against implementing a rate increase originally included in the budget.

Utility district officials gave a presentation on preliminary results for 2019 to commissioners at the Jan. 28 meeting.

The PUD finished the year with $208,957,700 in retail revenue, about 1.4 percent over the budget target. The utility delivered 5,078,183 megawatt-hours of power to all customers, about 1.7 percent under the budget target.

The 2019 budget did include a projected 2 percent increase in electric rates beginning in April, but PUD commissioners decided against implementation.

Residential electrical use grew 2 percent above the budget target in 2019, and electrical use in the commercial class grew by 1 percent. Shaun Harrington, a PUD senior data analyst, said some of the retail increase was due to colder weather than anticipated, and as a result more electrical use than anticipated, in 2019.

Irrigation use was down by 6 percent; use in the large industrial customer class was 2.7 percent below budget, and electrical use for regular industrial customers was 14 percent below projections. The irrigation season also was affected by the cooler weather, requiring less water and, as a result, less electricity.

Harrington said large industrial growth was lower than budget projections partly because of the shutdown at REC Silicon in Moses Lake, which is using 13 megawatts less power than projected. Two existing data centers are not expanding as fast as anticipated, which also contributed to slower growth in that class, he said.

Revenue from the ag processor class (Class 16) beat the budget target. Harrington said that was mostly due to one customer that expanded electrical use by 20 percent.

The large commercial class (Class 7) added five new customers, and an existing customer expanded operations by two megawatts, Harrington said. Cryptocurrency operations were moved to a separate class, emerging industries, with a different (and higher) rate. In 2019 cryptocurrency operations generated $4,805,454 in revenue.

The emerging industries class helped push 2019 revenues over the budget projections, Harrington said, since many of them were moved from large commercial (Class 7) which has lower rates.

Cheryl Schweizer can be reached via email at education@columbiabasinherald.com.