Truckee Donner PUD board approves infrastructure investment
TRUCKEE, Calif. – The Truckee Donner Public Utility District’s board of directors met last Wednesday for its March meeting. The board considered and approved water infrastructure upgrades, electric vehicle purchases, and pursuing a partnership with local agencies on a fueling station for essential services.
In General Manager Brian Wright’s update to the board, he first thanked TDPUD staff for its dedicated efforts during the recent major snowstorms Truckee has been experiencing. Due to favorable storm conditions (cold weather creating lighter snow) and recent resiliency work on the electrical system, TDPUD got through the last two major snowstorms without any significant outages. The board echoed the gratitude for TDPUD staff’s hard work.
Wright also gave an update on the substantial cost increase for electric resources that is currently affecting the Western U.S. A combination of low hydroelectric output during fall and early winter, repeated spikes in the cost of natural gas and extended periods of cold across the West has created a strain on the electric market that all electric utilities in California will need to address. While costs are receding month over month, they are still nearly double what they were this time last year. TDPUD is working diligently to reduce the impacts to customers, and taking steps to reduce its exposure to market volatility in the future.
The board took action to expand the local fueling facility partnership with the Town of Truckee and the Truckee Fire Protection District. Truckee’s essential service agencies require an accessible and reliable fuel source in order to accomplish the crucial work they do. When the interstate shuts down and local gas stations run low on gasoline during severe winter storms, that’s when town plows, emergency services, and utility trucks need fuel the most.
Recognizing this need, these agencies have already partnered on the creation of a pilot fuel station, and will now expand the program and increase on-site fuel storage capacity. The fuel station also utilizes renewable diesel, which will reduce greenhouse gas emissions for the fleets of all three public agencies.
The board also approved necessary water pipeline replacements in Tahoe Donner, continuing its commitment to upgrading TDPUD’s aging infrastructure to best serve the community and provide high-quality water services. It also approved the purchase of two electric pickup trucks to replace existing internal combustion engine vehicles in the fleet.
The state is requesting public agencies to begin electrifying their fleets, which can be difficult to accomplish in an industry that utilizes specialized equipment. TDPUD is committed to responsibly electrifying its fleet as zero-emission vehicles become commercially available, which is now an option for some of its less-specialized transit vehicles. The board also awarded a contract for an electric cost of service analysis, in order to ensure that electric rates are sufficient to reliably operate the utility, as well as administered equitably according to usage.
Information about TDPUD board meetings and access to agendas, minutes, live streaming and archived video can be found at tdpud.org/boardmeetings.
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