Chelan County PUD was created by a vote of the people of Chelan County in 1936. It delivered its first electric power to a small group of rural customers 11 years later. Today, the PUD provides electricity to all of Chelan County and delivers clean affordable power to major power purchasers serving millions of homes and businesses in the Northwest. Here are a few other facts about Chelan County PUD.
- Chelan County PUD owns and operates three hydroelectric projects. In an average year, we produce 9 million megawatt hours of power, enough to run a city of 900,000 people. One megawatt of power is roughly enough to power about 500 average Northwest homes.
- Rock Island Dam is the oldest hydroelectric facility on the Columbia River. The dam and first four units in the original powerhouse were put into production in 1933. Six more units were added in the 1950s. The second powerhouse opened in 1979, featuring eight of the first bulb or horizontal turbine-generators installed in the U.S.
- The two other hydro projects owned and operated by Chelan PUD are Lake Chelan dam and powerhouse (built originally by Washington Water Power in 1926-28 and acquired by Chelan PUD in 1955) and Rocky Reach Dam (built by Chelan PUD in 1956-61).
- Chelan County PUD is part of the country’s first Habitat Conservation Plans for anadromous fish. Under these landmark accords, the PUD agrees to the very high performance standard of “no net impact” on salmon and steelhead runs passing its hydroelectric projects.
- An innovative fish bypass system at Rocky Reach Dam includes a pipe that is nearly a mile long and up to 9 feet in diameter to take millions of young salmon and steelhead around the dam every year. Most young fish travel through the bypass in about 8 minutes. The bypass was developed through seven years of prototype testing and cost about $107 million to build.
- Chelan County is a solar leader in Washington state thanks to our award-winning Sustainable Natural Alternative Power (SNAP) program. Solar panels are installed at more than 30 stations including all schools and seven nonprofit agencies.
- About 25,000 power poles support 1,950 miles of line to carry electricity to Chelan County PUD customers.
- Chelan County PUD serves more than 48,000 retail electric customers. Its average retail residential rate is about 3.2 cents a kilowatt hour, second lowest in the nation.