Douglas PUD Spending More On Power Units At Wells Dam
The Douglas County PUD is making more contract changes to the biggest and most expensive project in the utility's history.
The PUD is in the process of rebuilding all 10 of the power generating units inside the Wells Dam on the Columbia River.
Douglas PUD spokesperson Meaghan Vibbert says the rebuilding of the dam's No. 8 generator is costing more than expected.
"Just like whenever you're remodeling a house, you find things that you didn't expect," said Vibbert. "We have done that at the Wells Project. So, we either found more cavitation, or different pieces needed to be rebuilt or replaced."
PUD commissioners this week authorized more than half a million dollars ($536,312) to cover the cost increase for the generator.
Vibbert says the extra money will also cover the cost of inflation that the contractor will absorb.
“There is a clause in there that allows for a price adjustment at the time that the unit is let for the contractor to start working on it,” Vibbert said.
The total cost of rebuilding all of the dam's generators will top $245 million.
Rebuilding all 10 generating units will cost more than it did to build the original Dam in 1965.
The cost is being spread over the course of the project, which is taking 20 plus years to complete.
Back in November, PUD commissioners authorized $929,719.00, largely to offer incentives for contractors at the Dam.
Currently, contractors are working on the sixth of 10 units in the rebuild project that was started in 2006. Since that time, the contractors have become much more efficient, with the average rebuild taking 13-14 months. It’s hoped that the incentive package will speed the process up even further, with the possibility that all 10 generating units could be rebuilt in the next several years.
This week, PUD commissioners also authorized the release of the No. 9 generator to Toshiba America Energy Systems Corporation, which allows that contractor to start ordering parts and perform prep before the actual rebuild of the generator takes place.
The cost to build the dam 57 years ago was $202 million. Wells Dam south of Pateros is the only hydro power dam operated by Douglas PUD. It supplies electricity to all residents in the county.