The people of Chelan County should read the news with satisfaction. Their public utility is on course to finish the year $10 million ahead of budget. If trends continue, Chelan County PUD will end the year $92.5 million in the black, The World’s Christine Pratt reports.
As Han Solo said to Luke Skywalker, “Great, kid. Don’t get cocky.”
These pleasing financial results are partly the result of good fortune. — more snow, more water, more power, more revenue. They are partly the result of sound management and financial strategy — paying down debt, controlling expenses, selling surplus power on forward contracts to lock in stable prices. The forward contracts bring prices above the market, for now.
Success should be praised, but should encourage continuation of the prudence and caution that brought it about. Never again forget the PUD makes no profit. The cash surplus, such as it is, is an asset of a public agency, but not a pot to redistribute in the form of favors to the people who own it. How it will be used for the public benefit will be a cautious decision made by our elected representatives who govern the utility, and as they do we encourage them to continue with the public engagement that has served us well.
There is every expectation that a sound course for the PUD will continue under new General Manager Steve Wright. The news that Wright has offered a position to outgoing manager John Janney, noted for his abilities in complex financial analysis, is greatly encouraging. The course set by recent PUD managers is proving its worth, for the benefit of the region.
This is the opinion of The Wenatchee World and its Editorial Board: Publisher Rufus Woods, Editor Cal FitzSimmons and Editorial Page Editor Tracy Warner.