Utilities – The Pagosa Springs SUN http://www.pagosasun.com The most trusted source for news and information about Pagosa Springs, Colorado. Thu, 02 Apr 2020 16:40:55 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=5.3.2 Public Meetings http://www.pagosasun.com/public-meetings-216/ Thu, 02 Apr 2020 21:00:33 +0000 http://www.pagosasun.com/?p=200548 The following meetings are subject to change.
Thursday, April 2
Dispatch Executive Management board. 9:30 a.m., Pagosa Springs Medical Center board room, 95 S. Pagosa Blvd.
Pagosa Springs Town Council special meeting. 5 p.m. See town website for participation information.
Southwestern Water Conservation District regular board meeting. Time to be determined, 841 E. Second Ave., Durango.
Friday, April 3
Southwestern Water Conservation District annual water seminar. 8:30 a.m.-4 p.m., 841 E. Second Ave., Durango. Update regarding COVID-19.
Pagosa Peak Open School Board of Directors focus group facilitation. 6 p.m., 7 Parelli Way.
Saturday, April 4
Pagosa Peak Open School Board of Directors strategic planning facilitation. 9 a.m., 7 Parelli Way.
Tuesday, April 7
Archuleta County Board of County Commissioners work session. 8:30 a.m., Archuleta County administration building, commissioners’ meeting room, 398 Lewis St.
Archuleta County Board of County Commissioners regular meeting. 1:30 p.m., Archuleta County administration building, commissioners’ meeting room, 398 Lewis St.
Wednesday, April 8
Pagosa Springs Town Council special meeting. 5 p.m. See town website for participation information.
Pagosa Springs Community Development Corporation regular board meeting. 5:30 p.m. Join Zoom meeting at https://zoom.us/j/649077192. Meeting ID: 649 077.
Thursday, April 9
Pagosa Area Water and Sanitation District regular meeting. 5 p.m., 100 Lyn Ave.
Monday, April 13
Pagosa Peak Open School Board of Directors regular meeting. 4 p.m., 7 Parelli Way.
Tuesday, April 14
Archuleta School District Board of Education elementary school visit. 8 a.m., Pagosa Springs Elementary School, 141 S. 10th St.
Archuleta County Board of County Commissioners work session. 8:30 a.m., Archuleta County administration building, commissioners’ meeting room, 398 Lewis St.
Archuleta County Republican Women’s meeting. Noon, Boss Hogg’s, 157 Navajo Trail Drive.
Archuleta School District Board of Education regular meeting. 6 p.m., Pagosa Springs High School auditorium, 800 S. 8th St.
Pagosa Fire Protection District Board of Directors meeting. 6:30 p.m., Station 1, Training Room, 191 N. Pagosa Blvd.

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PAWSD temporarily closes lobby to public http://www.pagosasun.com/pawsd-temporarily-closes-lobby-to-public/ Fri, 27 Mar 2020 11:00:59 +0000 http://www.pagosasun.com/?p=200161 By Justin Ramsey
Special to The SUN
Based on guidance from the local health department and the Centers for Disease Control for combating the spread of the COVID-19 virus, Pagosa Area Water and Sanitation District has temporarily closed the district’s customer service lobby to the public.
Please take note that your normal water and wastewater service will continue without interruption.
We are still available by phone at 731-2691 Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
There are three convenient ways for you to pay your bill:
• Bring your payment in a sealed envelope and place it in our drop box located near the stone entrance sign to the PAWSD campus at 100 Lyn Ave. Please remember to put your name, account number and whether it is a fill station or utility payment on the front of the envelope. Payments dropped in the box will be posted by noon each day, Monday through Friday.
• Call our office at 731-2691 to make a credit or debit card payment by phone. We may be experiencing an increase in call volume during this time, so please be patient.
• Take advantage of our convenient online account management portal at www.xpressbillpay.com.
We know that guidelines are changing daily and we will keep you informed of any further changes as they develop. We will get through this together and we look forward to returning to our normal lobby hours as soon as possible.

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Candidates for LPEA 2020 Board of Directors election verified http://www.pagosasun.com/candidates-for-lpea-2020-board-of-directors-election-verified/ Fri, 27 Mar 2020 11:00:27 +0000 http://www.pagosasun.com/?p=200165 By Hillary Knox
Special to The SUN
La Plata Electric Association’s (LPEA) independent election supervisory committee has verified candidates for the cooperative’s 2020 board of directors election.
LPEA has four director districts, established geographically. Each year, LPEA’s membership elects four representatives to the LPEA Board of Directors, one from each district.
“LPEA is a cooperative, which means we are owned by our members,” said Jessica Matlock, LPEA CEO. “All LPEA members in good standing are qualified to vote for the directors who represent them. As the directors make decisions that impact everyone, I encourage members to learn about the candidates and vote to make sure their voice is heard in the LPEA boardroom.”
Candidates for the 2020 election are as follows:
District 1, Archuleta County: Bob Lynch, current LPEA board president, is running unopposed. Pending formal approval by the LPEA board, Lynch will be reappointed.
District 2, south and west La Plata County: Two new candidates, Doug Fults and John Lee Jr., are vying to fill the seat to be vacated by retiring director Davin Montoya.
District 3, city of Durango: Incumbent Rachel Landis is being challenged by new candidate Dave Nulton.
District 4, north and east La Plata County: Incumbent Guinn Unger is being challenged by new candidate Sue McWilliams.
More details on the candidates and how to submit ballots will be distributed in the ballot packet to be mailed to all members in mid-April 2020. To be counted, ballots must be received no later than 4 p.m. on May 15.
Election results will be confirmed at LPEA’s annual meeting, currently scheduled to take place on May 16 at Pagosa Springs High School. Given the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, the meeting may need to be postponed. In this instance, the current directors will continue to serve until the annual meeting can be held to officially confirm the new directors. For the latest details on the annual meeting, visit lpea.coop/annual-meeting.

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LPEA temporarily suspends disconnects for nonpayment of electric bills during COVID-19 pandemic http://www.pagosasun.com/lpea-temporarily-suspends-disconnects-for-nonpayment-of-electric-bills-during-covid-19-pandemic/ Fri, 27 Mar 2020 11:00:14 +0000 http://www.pagosasun.com/?p=200153 By Hillary Knox
Special to The SUN
Effective immediately, La Plata Electric Association (LPEA) will temporarily suspend disconnects for nonpayment of electric bills for its residential and small-commercial members.
“We are aware of the deep economic impact the COVID-19 pandemic will have on the local economy,” said Jessica Matlock, LPEA CEO. “We are owned by our members and want to express empathy and solidarity with our communities during this difficult time. Our phones are open. Any members having trouble paying their bill should call us to discuss options. We are in this together.”
While no residential or small-commercial utility services will be disconnected during the suspension, LPEA members are still expected to pay their bill when they are able, either through a flexible payment plan or third-party funding assistance. Members should contact LPEA at 247-5786 for more details.

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LPEA implements Continuity of Operations Plan http://www.pagosasun.com/lpea-implements-continuity-of-operations-plan/ Fri, 27 Mar 2020 11:00:00 +0000 http://www.pagosasun.com/?p=200159 By Hillary Knox
Special to The SUN
La Plata Electric Association (LPEA) will modify its operating procedures to proactively respond to the growing novel coronavirus pandemic. Under its Continuity of Operations Plan, LPEA will prioritize the continuation of reliable electric service to its more than 46,000 meters while also protecting the safety and health of its employees and members.
“Given LPEA’s essential mission to power the lives of our communities, it’s vital that we proactively address all potential threats that would prevent us from achieving that,” said LPEA CEO Jessica Matlock. “We’ve been closely monitoring the ongoing situation with the novel coronavirus. … We believe it’s LPEA’s civic duty to be proactive and act before we must.”
Under the new plan, LPEA operations will change as follows until further notice:
• Main lobbies in Durango and Pagosa Springs are closed to the public. Drive-through options are available at each office and phones remain open Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. at 247-5786.
• In-home energy audits will not be conducted. Members can still call LPEA for remote assistance at 247-5786.
• LPEA meeting facilities are closed to all public events. Existing events will be canceled or postponed.
• Board meetings will be held remotely via video conference. The public will be able to participate virtually, and meetings will be recorded for later viewing. Access details will be made available at lpea.coop/board-directors-meeting-agendas.
• LPEA’s annual meeting, currently scheduled for May 16, at Pagosa Springs High School, may be postponed.
• Staff are canceling nonessential travel and conducting meetings virtually.
• LPEA is encouraging members to pay their bill from home. Members can receive their bill via email, make energy payments using a credit card or pay from a checking account through the LPEA SmartHub App. The pay-by-phone automated system is also available 24 hours per day. For more information on payment options, members should call 247-5786.
LPEA will resume normal operations as soon as is safely possible. For more information and updates from LPEA, members should visit lpea.coop/coronavirus.

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PAWSD to hold hearing on monthly surcharge increase for affordable housing http://www.pagosasun.com/pawsd-to-hold-hearing-on-monthly-surcharge-increase-for-affordable-housing/ Thu, 26 Mar 2020 21:00:28 +0000 http://www.pagosasun.com/?p=200157 By Chris Mannara
Staff Writer
On May 14 at 5 p.m., the Pagosa Area Water and Sanitation District (PAWSD) board will hold a public hearing to discuss and potentially decide on fee waivers for affordable housing, and a potential water and wastewater surcharge to make up the money lost with the fee waivers.

The full version of this story is available in the print edition and e-edition of the Pagosa Springs SUN. Subscribe today by calling (970)264-2100 or click here.

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Community input sought in use of Running Iron Ranch http://www.pagosasun.com/community-input-sought-in-use-of-running-iron-ranch/ Thu, 26 Mar 2020 21:00:12 +0000 http://www.pagosasun.com/?p=200163 By Chris Mannara
Staff Writer
At a joint meeting on March 12 that featured members of the Pagosa Area Water and Sanitation District (PAWSD), San Juan Water Conservancy District (SJWCD) and members of the Weber family, a discussion was held about a variety of topics pertaining to the Running Iron Ranch.

The full version of this story is available in the print edition and e-edition of the Pagosa Springs SUN. Subscribe today by calling (970)264-2100 or click here.

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Public Meetings http://www.pagosasun.com/public-meetings-215/ Thu, 26 Mar 2020 21:00:07 +0000 http://www.pagosasun.com/?p=200144 The following meetings are subject to change.
Thursday, March 26
Pagosa Springs Town Council work session. 5 p.m. See town website for participation information.
Friday, March 27
Pagosa Peak Open School Board of Directors focus group facilitation. 6 p.m., 7 Parelli Way.
Saturday, March 28
Pagosa Peak Open School Board of Directors strategic planning facilitation. 9 a.m., 7 Parelli Way.
Tuesday, March 31
Town Planning Commission, Board of Adjustments and Design Review Board. 4:30 p.m. work session, 5:30 p.m. meeting. See town website for participation information.
Wednesday, April 1
Town of Pagosa Springs Historic Preservation Board. 4:30 p.m. See town website for participation information.
Thursday, April 2
Dispatch Executive Management board. 9:30 a.m., Pagosa Springs Medical Center board room, 95 S. Pagosa Blvd.
Southwestern Water Conservation District regular board meeting. Time to be determined, 841 E. Second Ave., Durango.
Friday, April 3
Southwestern Water Conservation District annual water seminar. 8:30 a.m.-4 p.m., 841 E. Second Ave., Durango. Update regarding COVID-19.
Pagosa Peak Open School Board of Directors focus group facilitation. 6 p.m., 7 Parelli Way.
Saturday, April 4
Pagosa Peak Open School Board of Directors strategic planning facilitation. 9 a.m., 7 Parelli Way.
Public meeting information should be sent to editor@pagosasun.com with “Public Meeting” in the subject line. The deadline is noon Monday each week prior to publication for that week’s issue.

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LPEA board delays rate increase and allocates $90,000 to support community during COVID-19 http://www.pagosasun.com/lpea-board-delays-rate-increase-and-allocates-90000-to-support-community-during-covid-19/ Thu, 26 Mar 2020 10:57:57 +0000 http://www.pagosasun.com/?p=200075 By Hillary Knox
Special to The SUN
The La Plata Electric Association (LPEA) Board of Directors approved a rescue package Wednesday to support its members and community during the COVID-19 pandemic.
LPEA, which already announced it will suspend disconnects for nonpayment for its residential and small-commercial members until further notice, will now also delay its rate increase three months and allocate $90,000 in unclaimed capital credits to utility bill assistance and local emergency response programs.
“LPEA is a not-for-profit electric cooperative, which means it is owned and operated by its members at cost,” said Bob Lynch, LPEA board president. “We, the board and LPEA employees, are a part of the communities we serve and we want to do what we can to help our neighbors in this time of need. We do not take these decisions lightly, as they will put additional financial and administrative pressure on the organization, but we feel strongly that this is the right thing to do.”
The LPEA COVID-19 rescue package includes the following three elements:
Delay of rate increase
The 2020 rate increase was unanimously approved by the board in January to generate the funds needed to update and improve LPEA’s electric infrastructure, improve reliability to members and keep up with the cost of inflation. Delaying the effective date of the rate increase from April 1 to July 1 will cost the utility roughly $1 million. To offset this loss, the board approved a withdrawal from LPEA’s emergency rate stabilization fund, which was created in 2019 to safeguard business operations in emergency situations. The board views the creation of this fund as fortuitous, because it can now be used to help LPEA members in this time of great need.
Allocation of $90,000 in unclaimed capital credits
As LPEA is a not-for-profit utility delivering service to its members at cost, any payments made by members in excess of the cost required to provide their electric service are placed into a patronage capital account in each member’s name, usually referred to as “capital credits.” When the cooperative is able, capital credits are “retired” and returned to members as bill credits or by check. If these checks are not cashed after three years, they are considered to be “unclaimed.”
Unclaimed capital credits are traditionally assigned to community causes and, in this spirit, LPEA will assign $90,000 to assist those in its service area as follows: $50,000 will be allocated to assist LPEA members who cannot pay their bills due to job loss and business closure; $25,000 will be allocated to the Community Emergency Response Fund; and $7,500 each will be provided to the Community Emergency Action Coalition and the Pagosa Outreach Coalition.
Suspension of
disconnects for
nonpayment
As previously announced, LPEA had suspended all disconnects for nonpayment until further notice. While no residential or small-commercial utility services will be disconnected during the suspension, this is not a debt forgiveness program. LPEA members are still expected to pay their bill when they are able, either through a flexible payment plan or funding assistance. Members should contact LPEA at 247-5786 for more details.

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COVID-19: What the public needs to know about water and sanitation http://www.pagosasun.com/covid-19-what-the-public-needs-to-know-about-water-and-sanitation/ Sun, 22 Mar 2020 11:00:21 +0000 http://www.pagosasun.com/?p=199757 By Chris Mannara
Staff Writer
Amid the coronavirus pandemic, municipal water and sewer providers have addressed some common concerns among the general public.
At a regular meeting of the Pagosa Area Water and Sanitation District (PAWSD) Board of Directors on March 12, District Manager Justin Ramsey noted that COVID-19 cannot be spread through drinking water.
“It’s very susceptible to chlorine,” Ramsey said. “We do keep chlorine in our water.”
However, COVID-19 can be found in sewage, Ramsey noted, adding that there are other unhealthy things found in sewage as well.
“What the CDC [Centers for Disease Control and Prevention] and the state recommends for our sanitation workers is, ‘don’t take any different precautions than they already should be taking. Because you’re dealing with nasty stuff,’” he said.
The only way PAWSD could be affected by COVID-19 is if too many staff members were to get sick, Ramsey added later.
According to Ramsey, the state of Colorado has put together a program, called CoWARN [Colorado Water/Wastewater Agency Response Network] that allows PAWSD to “share” equipment and staff.
“So if PAWSD gets hit real hard with this, I can call Durango and say ‘I need two water operators’ and if they have them available, they’ll send them to us,” he said. “It sets out how we’re going to pay for it and pay them back and so on and so forth.”
In a follow-up interview on March 17, Ramsey noted that PAWSD is now a part of CoWARN.
Additionally, Ramsey noted that PAWSD has run into issues with citizens using and flushing items that cause problems with PAWSD’s infrastructure.
“It is causing somewhat of a problem. It’s not a major catastrophe, but it is definitely clogging some pumps and causing a little bit of issues,” he said.
On March 17, PAWSD’s administrative offices closed to the public indefinitely, Ramsey explained in an email.
PAWSD customers will still receive regular water and wastewater service, Ramsey noted.
“You may still reach us by phone. To pay with cash or check, please place your payment in an envelope with your account number on it and distinguish it between fill station and utility payment, and place it in the lockbox located outside of the gates of the PAWSD driveway (the PAWSD brick sign.),” Ramsey wrote. “It will be checked each morning, and payments posted by noon each day, so please plan accordingly.”
Town Manager Andrea Phillips explained in an email to The SUN on March 17 that the Pagosa Springs Sanitation General Improvement District is not doing anything different in terms of treatment.
“As always, we ask that people not flush anything down the toilet that is nonflushable. Those should go in the waste can,” she wrote.

 

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