WENATCHEE — The Chelan County PUD spent less than expected last year and earned more for a bottom-line of nearly $78 million — about $5 million more than budgeted, commissioners learned Monday.
Revenue from surplus power sales ended the year at $121.3 million, about 105 percent of budget, officials said.
Columbia River flows at 128 percent of average produced more electricity than budgeted, but market prices for the surplus were lower than expected — $19 per megawatt hours, compared to $26 budgeted.
Officials attribute the overall gain to the utility’s locking in higher-than-market prices for most of its surplus power — $32 per megawatt hour on average — through forward sales contracts.
The forward sales reduce the amount of surplus electricity subject to low market prices, Gregg Carrington, managing director of energy resources, told commissioners.
That benefit could become a disadvantage for the utility, he said, if market prices rebound while most of the PUD’s surplus is tied up in forward-sales contracts at lower prices.
Local electricity sales to Chelan County residential, commercial and industrial customers ended the year about $1 million less than budget, because mild weather reduced energy use , Kelly Boyd, chief financial and risk officer, told commissioners.
Operating costs came in $2.6 million under budget, she said, despite $2 million in expenses to repair PUD power and fiber-optic systems from a series of snow and wind storms in the Lake Wenatchee, Plain and Coles Corner areas.
More expenses from the December storms are expected this year, Boyd said.
Lower construction costs and project deferrals reduced capital-project costs to $31.6 million — only 58 percent of budget, Boyd said.
The PUD reduced overall debt by $82 million last year, reducing total indebtedness to $885 million by year end.
It ended the year with $399 million in cash and investments, up from the $377 million a year earlier. Of that, $263 million are unrestricted funds, up from $186 million in late 2011.
Christine Pratt: 665-1173