Chelan Valley Mirror
Being the first to use the Internet to keep agencies and the public informed on relicensing efforts for the Lake Chelan and the Rocky Reach Hydroelectric projects has earned Chelan County PUD a Hydro Achievement Award for 2000 in the Technological Solutions” category.
The National Hydropower Association (NHA) presented the award to the PUD on Tuesday, April 4, in Washington, D.C. during the annual NHA Conference. “It is a pleasure to be recognized for our work making the relicensing process easier to use and more understandable for everyone,” said Chelan County PUD Commissioner Bob Boyd when he accepted the award at the luncheon ceremony. “We believe this has made the process more efficient and more cost-effective for relicensing stakeholders, and for the regulatory agencies as well as us.”
The PUD has pioneered the use of their Internet web site to keep agencies and the public informed on relicensing efforts for both Lake Chelan and Rocky Reach Hydroelectric Projects. The PUD is the first to use an electronic filing system with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) in which six month updates on relicensing are filed by CD-ROM instead of mailing massive volumes of printed material.
Instead of having paper copies of every document mailed to them, participants can go to the Web site (www.chelanpud.org/relicense) and see copies of all correspondence, reports, meeting notices and schedules. The web site also includes a photo archive of more than 300 historic pictures from the early days of construction of the Lake Chelan Hydroelectric Project.
To comply with FERC filing requirements, the PUD downloads the entire web site onto a CD-ROM and mails it to them every six months. The public utility estimates that the paper savings amounts to a stack of paper 40 stories tall.
In its application for the Hydro Achievement Award, Chelan County PUD described the benefits of its web site this way:
By being the first to create an Internet Web site for federal hydro relicensing and to use CD-ROM electronic filing with FERC for relicensing of the Lake Chelan and the Rocky Reach Hydroelectric Projects, Chelan County PUD No.1 has:
- Demonstrated that electronic communications via the Internet and CD-ROM can work for the federal relicensing process;
- Shown that such communications can serve stakeholders, regulatory agencies, the public and utilities better by offering instant and universal access to documents, correspondence and public notices;
- Helped establish a standard (pdf) for document handling at the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, a standard that is being adopted by other utilities and licensees;
- Replaced costly, bulkier paper reporting with electronic filing, thereby saving money, time and increasing FERC efficiency; and
- Helped insure greater public accountability by making huge quantities of relicensing documents and letters widely available in organized fashion at the touch of a few computer keys.
Relicensing Project Manager Gregg Carrington said, “What’s most remarkable about electronic filing and the Web site are the costs savings. It is a lot cheaper to put all the paperwork on a Web site and on CD-ROM instead of making and distributing hard copies. The other good thing about this project is that it showed FERC that it could be done, and, as a result, FERC has agreed to use electronic filing in other areas.”
The Hydro Achievement Awards, begun in 1994, recognize members of the hydroelectric industry who have demonstrated good stewardship of the nation’s rivers, resourcefulness and creativity in meeting their responsibilities.
Chelan Valley Mirror
April 4, 2000