The Chelan PUD has its 2023 budget in place after getting approval this week from PUD commissioners. 

It projects the utility will take in more money than it spends for a net income of almost $103 million. 

The positive numbers are being linked to the high dollar value the PUD is getting from its sale of hydropower on the open market. 

Total spending by the PUD, including payments to reduce its long-term debt is about $496 million. The payment to reduce the debt is $37 million. 

The PUD's total debt is projected to be $349 million at the end of this year, which will be reduced to $312 million by the end 2023 with the payment. 

Spending on capital projects is almost $183 million. 

Chelan PUD financial planning manager Dave Nelson says the budget allows for major spending on maintenance and upgrades at their two big dams on the Columbia River. 

"It's a significant budget with continuation of our modernization plans at Rock Island (Dam) as a big driver of our capitol plans, (and) continuation or our turbine repairs at Rocky Reach (Dam)," said Nelson. 

The budget also calls for major spending to complete PUD's new headquarters and service center in Olds Station, and build three new substations in Leavenworth, Chelan and Malaga.   

Other major capital projects for 2023 include $34 million, which is partly going for the Jumpoff Ridge, which will supply electricity to a Microsoft cloud-based data center that's in the works in Malaga. 

Microsoft will reimburse the PUD for the total cost of the project.  

A total of $4 million is being set aside for a crane at Rocky Reach Dam and $5 million for the Dryden Wastewater Improvement Project. 

Nelson said the long list capitol projects is a tall order. “There’s a lot of work in there and a lot of challenges ahead for 2023,” said Nelson.

A major contributor to the utility's net income of nearly $103 million is $270 brought in by its long term and short-term sale of surplus hydropower on the open market. 

Those sales are possible because the PUD generates far more power than is needed to supply the needs of all customers in Chelan County.  

The PUD held several public hearings on the budget, including introductory presentations in October, along with two public hearings in November. 


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