EPHRATA, Wash. — Grant County Public Utility District employees will keep working on a plan to build new transmission lines into the Quincy area. Utility district commissioners gave the go-ahead after a three-hour explanation at the regular commission meeting Tuesday.

Commissioner Larry Schaapman said organizations and individuals are working on economic development in Quincy and around the county, and the PUD shouldn’t be a stumbling block to that work. Utility district accountants have done some analysis, and projected a project to be completed in 2026, at a cost of $139 million.

Louis Szablya, of the PUD’s “large customer” unit, said the utility has received a lot of applications for service in general and in Quincy and Moses Lake in particular.

Utility district accountants were asked to determine the impact on the district’s finances. “The one piece that wasn’t discussed (in Szablya’s presentation) was cost,” said John Mertlich, senior manager for financial planning and analysis. The financial analysis looked at the impact if growth continued at its current pace, and if the PUD stopped growing completely.

The accountants are still trying to find all the answers, Mertlich said. When financial planners started analyzing the no-growth option, they discovered more analysis was needed, he said.

The financial analysis found that while the project would be a major capital expense, the ability to grow has long-term benefits for all customers, Mertlich said.

Commissioner Judy Wilson asked about growth in Royal City; commissioners recently approved construction of a new transformer at the Port of Royal Slope. Utility district analysts said Royal City still has room to grow before it reaches capacity.

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