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Letters to the Editor for May 12, 2022

Skamania County public utilities commissioner candidates needed

The application period for candidates seeking the Skamania County Public Utilities Commissioner District 2 seat is May 16-20.

We desperately need candidates to run against the incumbent. Interested candidates can apply at Skamania County Courthouse, auditor’s office or online. For more information, call 509-427-3730.

Commissioners meet every other Tuesday morning and, at times, for special meetings. The salary is $1,854 a month with great benefits including travel, per diem, family health insurance and retirement benefits.

Though public utility commissioners in Clark and Klickitat counties have voted against Advanced Meter Infrastructure (AMI) – thus making an extremely wise and well-informed decision – Skamania County’s public utility commissioners voted in favor of the massively expensive and detrimental AMI infrastructure on June 1, 2021, forever known as “CODE-RED-DAY.”

SCPUD commissioners hired general manager John Goodman in April 2017. Goodman has made numerous changes since his arrival. First was stopping the audio recordings of the public meetings. All major changes were made without adequately informing ratepayers and without the vote of the people in a very rural community. Next, he pressed the need for implementing AMI and the need for more money. The commissioners were given three choices in the winter of 2018-19. All three choices were to raise rates to cover AMI. They were not given a “no action” alternative. What’s more, Goodman formerly worked for McKinstry, the company awarded the AMI contract.

The definition of base rates was unchanged for over 80 years but appeared totally foreign to all three commissioners – Liz Green, Dave McKinsey and Dan Boyes – when questioned. However, their vote was to raise rates for AMI at “moderate increases.” Thus, base rates increased about 30 percent each year beginning in 2019 . This was charging ratepayers in advance of AMI.

SCPUD commissioners have been consistently voting to increase our utility rates. SCPUD commissioners have been consistently filling their pockets by voting to increase their salaries. High utility bills are contributing to utilities being cut off and homelessness, while others are not able to afford medical insurance, pay medical bills or purchase healthy foods.

SCPUD commissioners voted multiple times for non-essential changes not required by law, including detrimental, very expensive infrastructure like the AMI data-mining meters with microwave radiation pulses, battery failures, ticking combustion sources and hacking targets that require broadband as opposed to wonderful analog meters that stay calibrated for 25 to 40 years or the efficient, one-way communication AMR meters in Clark County.

Maria Go,

Stevenson