RAYMOND — A group unhappy with Public Utility District plans to extend service to Tokeland retained the services of a law firm, a ratepayer announced Tuesday, Oct. 1.

Nahcotta resident Dick Sheldon read a letter aloud during the public comment of the PUD No. 2 board meeting, saying concerned ratepayers have retained an attorney with the law firm of Harrison-Benis of Seattle.

“We don’t consider this matter over or finished at all,” he said. “We hope you’ll get more in tune with the needs of this project and develop them better so that everybody can understand them.”

The dispute concerns the PUD’s plan to extend electric service to Tokeland, North Cove and Grayland. Sheldon and several others have spoke out against the plan because of estimated costs and other concerns.

For the birds

Terry Larson said he felt compelled to attend every PUD meeting to speak up for Tokeland. He said he reads the papers and sees the same people speaking against the extension project.

“I look and it’s still the same naysayers that pound Tokeland (and say) how we have electricity,” he said. “Well, all we’re asking for is some reliable electricity. We didn’t have it last night. The cannery (Nelson Crab) was shut down. All lines, until noon today when the (Grays Harbor) PUD finally showed up and got a bird out of the wiring that had stopped the electricity on the whole point.”

Larson’s wife, Vickie, said power problems are frequent. Nelson Crab, which employs as many as 120 workers, had serious problems on Sept. 22 also, she said. The power didn’t go all the way out.

It was a problem with the three-phase system, she continued. Grays Harbor PUD said it would take hours to get there. When plant workers checked outside, they saw one of the three-phase wires hanging loose across the street.

“People are sick and tired of this,” she said. “When we the people of Tokeland aren’t at these meetings, we’re getting trashed by people who don’t give a hoot about us.”

For the Larsons, the extension can’t come soon enough.

“Can you come this year; like now?” Vickie Larson asked.

Sheldon said he understood Tokeland’s problems, but he said the Pacific County PUD bears some blame for that because if it hadn’t announced its intentions to take over the system, Grays Harbor PUD would have, in all likelihood, upgraded the system and solved the problems years ago.

Budget hearings

PUD manager Doug Miller reminded the board that public hearings on the electrical and water budgets will be held during regular board meetings on Nov. 5 in Raymond and Nov. 19 in Long Beach.

Efficient grocers

The board signed a new agreement with Portland Energy Conservation Inc. to extend the Energy Smart Grocer program.

Miller said the Bonneville Power Administration program helps grocery stores become more energy efficient. PECI administers the program for BPA.

The company does energy audits and cost-benefit analysis on upgrades for lighting and refrigeration, for example. Store owners pay for the upgrades, but they may be eligible for rebates, depending on the project.

Among the stores that have utilized the program are Pioneer in Long Beach; Okies Thriftway in Ocean Park and Okie’s Select in Naselle; Pioneer Grocery in South Bend; Everybody’s Supermarket and Shell 101 in Raymond.

Super students

The commissioners also nominated Jessica Creager for the Glenn and Elvira Walkley Educational Scholarship.

Miller said the scholarship is for high school seniors who are the children of Washington PUD employees. The students must have a C average or better and have a record of participation in high school activities.

Creager, an Astoria High School student, is the daughter of PUD information technology assistant Dave Gager.

The commissioners faced a tough decision.

Dominic DeLong, son of journeyman meterman Paul Wilkeson, and Kathryn Green, daughter of journeyman lineman Jerry Green, had similar qualifications.

“It’s unfortunate we can only pick one,” Miller said.

“I don’t think I’ve ever seen three as close as this in qualifications,” said Commissioner Ron Hatfield (Dist. 2).

Thompson said their grade point averages were within a few hundredths of a point (3.819, 3.889 and 3.923).

In the end, Creager’s name was drawn from a hat by a member of the audience.

The next PUD meeting will be 1 p.m. at the Peninsula Operations Center in Long Beach, 9610 Sandridge Road.

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