Washington Gov. Jay Inslee on Oct. 14 extended COVID-19 related protections to residential energy utility customers through the end of the year. They were set to expire Oct. 15. In the 11th iteration of the underlying proclamation, Inslee barred energy utilities from disconnections due to nonpayment on an active account; refusing to reconnect service that has been disconnected due to nonpayment; charging fees for late payment or reconnection of energy; and disconnecting service to customer who have requested assistance from a utility's COVID-19 customer support program.

The Northwest Power and Conservation Council approved the Resident Fish and Sturgeon Project Review Final Recommendations on Oct. 14. The 42 projects approved for funding involved $35.46 million, including about $3.66 million in recommended increases, which will be sent to BPA for implementation. The projects were reviewed and approved by the Independent Scientific Review Panel, including some with conditions. The review also included programmatic recommendations, which were also approved by the Council. Topics of the programmatic recommendations include best management practices for native and nonnative fish management, project prioritization, climate change, and communication and project tracking.

The Northwest Power and Conservation Council approved findings on recommendations and responses to comments on Part I of its 2020 Addendum to the 2014 Fish and Wildlife Program on Oct. 12. "This is the formal conclusion of the amendment process, which began in 2018," the NWPCC's general counsel John Shurts told the Council. The approval is the last action needed before the addendum becomes final. A notice will be published in the Federal Register.

NW Natural Gas, part of Northwest Natural Holding, has promoted two director-level positions to lead strategy and corporate responsibility related to the company's low carbon pathway efforts. Ryan Bracken has been promoted to director of Strategic Planning, where he will help lead the company's low-carbon pathway and decarbonization strategy, while also overseeing the integrated resource plan and continuing to serve as the company's principal economist. Mary Moerlins has been promoted to NW Natural's director of Environmental Policy & Corporate Responsibility, with responsibility for the company's policy development, external environmental collaborations, corporate citizenship, and internal sustainability efforts.

David Anderson, CEO and president of NW Natural, will chair the American Gas Association board of directors in 2021, the industry group announced Oct. 14. The AGA, founded in 1918, represents more than 200 local energy companies that deliver natural gas. Some 95 percent of the more than 75 million residential, commercial and industrial natural gas customers in the U.S. are served by AGA members.

Bozeman's new public safety center will host what city officials think will be Montana's largest building-mounted solar array when construction is finished. The 252-kW array is expected to generate 271 MWh a year, according to the Bozeman Chronicle. The system won't connect to the grid due to a state law capping solar net metering at 50 kW. The building's design allows the city to add battery storage in the future. It will house the Bozeman Police Department, a fire station, municipal courts, and prosecution and victim services. Construction is slated to end in April 2022.