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NW Fishletter #383, July 2, 2018

[9] Pend Oreille PUD Settles Dispute Over Turbine Replacement

The Pend Oreille County PUD has resolved a legal dispute with contractor Andritz Hydro over the costs of replacing four turbine units at its Box Canyon Dam in Ione, Wash.

In the settlement--reached after failed negotiations and after the start of binding arbitration--the PUD agreed to pay $10.9 million of about $23.9 million the company claimed was owed.

In a May 29 news release, the PUD says it avoided almost $13 million in additional debt. With the settlement, the total project cost $88 million, including Andritz's initial bid of $68.9 million, approved change orders totaling $13.6 million, plus sales taxes, interest and other costs.

The work, which the PUD says was completed 588 days behind schedule, replaced the dam's four five-blade turbines with the more fish-friendly four-blade turbines, and the capacity to generate 90 MW instead of 72 MW.

April Owen, the PUD's director of finance, told NW Fishletter the turbine replacement is part of the PUD's larger plan to increase generation while improving conditions for fish as required by their 50-year Federal Energy Regulatory Commission license.

The PUD issued $143.8 million in revenue bonds to cover the costs of the new turbines, upgrading step-up transformers, governors, plant wiring; and adding cool water piping on its Sullivan Creek project, which was built as a fish attractant.

"After over 50 years of Box Canyon operations, the commission made the difficult but prudent decision to invest in the future and modernize the plant," PUD Board President Dan Peterson said in the news release. "It's finally done after 10-plus years thanks to the hard work and dedication of our PUD management team and staff."

Owen said the remaining requirement on its FERC license will be an upstream fish passage facility, at an estimated cost of roughly $36 million. The PUD expects to issue a bond this fall to fund that project. -K.C. Mehaffey

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Publisher/Editor-in-Chief: Mark Ohrenschall, Editor: K.C. Mehaffey
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