City considers extending power to Vista Terrace

Published on Fri, Feb 16, 2001 by Soren Velice

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City considers extending power to Vista Terrace

By Soren Velice

Residents of Vista Terrace may finally get one of the carrots dangled on a stick when the neighborhood was annexed four years ago.

“It was the goal of the public works committee two years ago to try and acquire Vista Terrace into the city of Blaine as far as our light system is concerned so we run power up there and get those people that are citizens of Blaine and are in the city limits on Blaine city light,” councilman Frank Bresnan said at Tuesday’s city council meeting. “ Because we are significantly less expensive than Puget Sound energy ... it would not only be a better fit to them, it would be a better fit to us with additional customers.”

Public works director Grant Stewart, however, said when he had approached PSE in the past about getting that territory, the utility didn’t like the idea. “They basically said they were going to make it difficult for us to acquire those customers and we’d have to pay top dollar,” he said. “At that point the wind came out of my sails.” He said in simultaneous studies of what the territory is worth, PSE came up with a higher figure than the city – as much as $200,000.

Ken Ely said he thought it behooves the city to do whatever is necessary to bring the neighborhood into the city’s power grid, as that was one of the selling points for annexation. “They’re in the city, but they’re still not receiving better power rates that were held out to them to come into the city,” he said. “Wind or no wind, sails or no sails, we’re somewhat morally obligated to do what we need to do to get them in, even if it’s condemnation procedures.” Stewart, however, said the city was not likely to win condemnation proceedings.

While Bresnan said he thought a firm offer to PSE to buy its infrastructure might work, Stewart swayed him toward placing an underground line up Odell Road to feed the neighborhood. “Grant’s absolutely right,” Bresnan replied. “We’ve got 600-amp service up Odell road that was put in as part of that project; we can extend that thing up a quarter to a half mile and catch 70 customers at the top of that hill.”

Stewart said the city’s contract with the Bonneville Power Administration has a targeted adjustment clause that would subject the city to a a price increase for customers acquired from PSE. “The long-term savings of going underground and purchasing outright would need to be compared,” he said. “You also have to ask ‘is it in the best interest of all the other customers to do this?’”

Stewart and council agreed to amend the Electrical Systems Analysis’ consulting contract to examine the feasibility of that and another possible acquisition in the south Drayton Harbor area. Stewart said a report would probably be ready by the February 26 council meeting.

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