Board Meeting Summary January 23, 2024

January 23, 2024

Board Action

2024 Board Meeting Dates: The Board voted to move the March, April, September, November, and December board meetings to earlier in the month to avoid conflicts with major holidays and industry-related meetings that the Board attends. All board meeting dates are posted under News & Events on Salem Electric’s website.

NW RiverPartners: The Board voted to approve a donation to NW RiverPartners to support their media campaign promoting the benefits of hydropower.

General Manager's Report

Mutual Aid: SE crews spent several long days helping Consumers Power Inc. (CPI) repair damage from the ice storm. They worked in cold, difficult conditions to restore power and were greatly appreciated by both CPI and their members. Mutual aid costs are covered by the utility receiving assistance. 

Franchise Agreement: General Manager Tony Schacher provided comment at the January 2 Keizer City Council meeting regarding our pending franchise agreement. The council voted to authorize staff to pursue negotiations to renew franchise agreements with Salem Electric, NW Natural, and Portland General Electric.

Power During Severe Cold: Schacher discussed the Federal Columbia River Power System and noted that the Lower Snake River Dams were instrumental in providing power to the region during the severe cold weather this month, while wind power was essentially nonexistent. Significant discussion followed about the future of power supply in the Pacific Northwest if a settlement between the U.S. Government and the Six Sovereigns is approved by the courts and the dams are breached.

2023 Year-End Report Highlights

The Member Services Department highlighted several accomplishments for the year including implementation of prepaid billing, self-serve reconnects, and an electric vehicle registration program. They participated in community events, had success in a paperless bill campaign, and created process improvements to save hundreds of hours of employee time while improving their overall response time to members.

The Engineering & Operations Department was over budget for the year, largely due to increased material and contract labor costs, and highly fluctuating material lead times. They completed projects to increase reliability and achieved an average outage time of 5.4 minutes per member for the year, our lowest outage time since 2011.

Salem Electric's financial reports showed that net margins, operating revenue, total expenses, power cost, and operating expenses were higher than budgeted, and utility billing revenue and MWh sales were slightly higher than anticipated. Residential services account for 63% of our utility billing revenue, with general service making up 36% and street lighting 1%.