LMUD Moving Forward
In prior editions of Ruralite, we have discussed Lassen Municipal Utility District's (LMUD’s) Skedaddle Interconnect Project with NV Energy to improve reliability of our electric supply. The project has been fully approved by the LMUD board and the NV Energy management team. A financing package has been completed by LMUD, and bonds were successfully issued October 12, 2021. The LMUD board will be involved in all expenditures.
The project—in Wendel near the NV Energy high-voltage transmission line—is in the engineering phase, and construction will begin soon. The projected online and in-service date is October 2024.
At the September 28 rate hearing, LMUD discussed rates and increases to meet our current needs and future upgrades. The Skedaddle Project was part of that discussion.
Increasing the facility charge is the appropriate way to meet project funding needs. The facility charge funds a major part of our electric operations system, poles and wires, substations, and other equipment. With the support of customers in attendance, the board voted to increase our facility charge. The increase varies by rate class. Residential and agricultural customers will see a $5 a month increase, small commercial (general demand) will increase by $9 a month and large commercial/industrial will increase by $60 a month.
The increase will help meet rising costs and cover the cost of construction for the Skedaddle Project. Our plan is to revisit funding needs as they arise. As always, we will keep you informed and up to date.
On other fronts, we continue to make progress with system improvements. We recently obtained approval from the Bureau of Land Management to improve and upgrade the electric distribution line that feeds the Shaffer Mountain communications site to provide additional reliability to our electric supply for a key communications site in Lassen County.
LMUD staff is working on projects we hope will lead to widening of the utility rights-of-way from Susanville to Westwood and Merrillville to Eagle Lake.
These are long-term projects with significant safety benefits. We are seeking funding from FEMA/CalOES to assist with project costs.
We have continued obtaining and managing our renewable power needs. In 2022, a new solar project—UAMPS Red Mesa— will come on board to supply LMUD with a significant amount of low-cost power in an environment of increasing costs.
We have been reviewing roles and duties of LMUD staff as we continue to be challenged by increasing regulations and business management needs, along with larger and more complex projects.
We obtained board approval to create two new positions: business manager and project coordinator. We are pleased to announce the business manager position was filled by Nick Dominguez, an 8-year district employee. We wish Nick success as LMUD continues to move forward.