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OKANOGAN - Okanogan County Public Utility District has reopened its offices to the public.

Hours are 7:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Monday through Thursday; the office will be closed July 2 in observance of Independence Day.

PUD commissioners and staff discussed the schedule change and other COVID-19 updates during the board’s June 22 meeting.

Customers are asked to follow state guidelines regarding social distancing and facial coverings.

Branch offices in Oroville, Tonasket, Twisp and Brewster can accommodate one customer at a time with social distancing. Customers are asked to wait outside for their turns.

The Okanogan office, 1331 N. Second Ave., can accommodate multiple customers at once. Plastic or glass barriers are in place to reduce the risk of spreading COVID-19.

Offices first opened June 18, after a 94-day closure. Although customers have been able to contact staff via phone and email during the closures, some services need in-person meetings, said PUD officials.

Bill pay and other services are available via phone, email, drop box or through the SmartHub app or online program. Customers are asked to use those options when possible.

Customer Service Supervisor Mindy Morris said representatives have been contacting customers who are behind in bills to help them work on payment arrangements. As of the board meeting, 302 bills were late, representing 155 customers with a total of more than $44,000 owed.

The district began waiving late fees and suspending disconnects for non-payment in mid-March, before state were imposed in April. Those moratoriums have been extended to July 28.

In other business, the board:

Authorized the General Manager Steve Taylor and Director of Finance, Accounting and Administration Janet Crossland to take all actions needed for purchase of the Chicken Creek substation property.

Chief Engineer Dan Simpson presented a written evaluation of the property, which included less than $5,000 worth of additional projects to make the substation meet the district’s needs.

The board decided earlier to purchase the substation from Gebbers Farms, Brewster.

-Approved an updated service area agreement between the district and Nespelem Valley Electric Cooperative. The agreement was dated 1970, and the updated agreement affirmed the same boundaries.

-Received a clean audit report from Olga Darlington of Moss Adams LLP. The annual audit was completed virtually earlier this spring.

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