Public Power Benefit Program

Public Power Benefits are projects selected by the Board of Commissioners. These projects contribute to improving the quality of life in our county. Public Power Benefit projects were developed as part of the 2015 Chelan PUD strategic plan and are designed to provide the best to the most for the longest period of time.

Funded projects have included: expansion of the PUD fiber network to more homes throughout the county during the next ten years; creating a Day Use Parking Pass program that allows county residents to visit the three PUD Parks managed by the State of Washington – Daroga, Lincoln Rock and Wenatchee Confluence – and park for free – much like a Discover Pass; installation of electric vehicle charging stations at up to nine PUD facilities around the county; restoration of the Horan habitat area to a wetland; a feasibility study for a possible splash pad area in one of the PUD’s parks; and much more.

Although we aren’t currently accepting new applications, we always are interested in hearing about great new ideas. We welcome your thoughts. You can send project suggestions directly to customerhelp@chelanpud.org

What is the Public Power Benefit program?

The Public Power Benefit program invests a portion of available revenues in ways that enhance quality of life in Chelan County. The program is designed to include customer-owners in the decision-making process.

What are the benefits?

Investments made under the Public Power Benefit program must fall within the PUD's authority as a public utility. Benefits might come in the form of services like expanded fiber availability, or an amenity like a water feature at a park. Benefits are optional, and are intended to enhance the quality of life in Chelan County. They are funded using a portion of electric revenues, as determined annually by Commissioners. This is a new program as of 2015, and Commissioners are currently focusing on the five project areas listed on the Projects page.

Where do the funds come from?

As of 2015, less than one-fifth of Chelan County power is used in Chelan County by retail customers. The rest is sold through contracts to other utilities, Alcoa, or on the wholesale power market. Here is an example from the 2014 adopted budget.

PPB News

PUD fiber expansion starts in lower Chumstick Canyon

by Kimberlee Craig | May 26, 2016
Leavenworth-area work will add Public Power Benefit access to broadband internet

Chelan PUD crews are at work in lower Chumstick Canyon, just outside Leavenworth, expanding the high-speed fiber network as part of the District’s Public Power Benefit program approved by PUD commissioners last year. In all, Chelan PUD is expanding access to the network for about 1,000 customers this year in parts of Cashmere, Manson and Leavenworth.

PUD crews started building new fiber distribution last week in lower Chumstick Canyon to reach about 55 homes by the end of June. They are working from Cascade High School north to Freund Canyon.

Now is the time for customers in the newly built-out area to contact a retail service provider and make a connection request to receive broadband internet, television and/or telephone over the PUD network.   Chelan PUD’s broadband network can deliver internet speeds of up to 1 gigabit per second (GBps).

Drivers and bicyclists on Chumstick Highway can expect to see PUD and contractor crews in the area for the next 30 days, Monday – Friday, generally from 7 a.m. – 4 p.m. They will be placing equipment to prepare for the new fiber service.

For more information about the planned expansion, please visit the PUD website www.chelanpud.org and click on “My PUD Services.”

As chosen by customers during strategic planning, the Public Power Benefit will bring access to the PUD’s high-speed internet fiber network from about 69 percent to 85-90 percent of county residents within 11 years.  Locations for future work are identified each year during budgeting for the following year.

District staff has identified the areas slated for additional connections in 2016 that are next to existing fiber in Manson, Cashmere and Leavenworth. Expansion criteria calls for building in areas where connections can be added at the least cost per premises passed. Broadband network expansion in the Manson area is scheduled to start in early July. Work in the Cashmere area along Tigner Road started in early May.

Revenue Generation (2014 Adopted Budget)

As revenues flow in, they are first used to reinvest in core assets, pay down debt, and maintain cash reserves. After that, Commissioners may choose to set aside some money for Public Power Benefits.

How did the program come about?

In January of 2014, PUD Commissioners launched a community conversation called Our Public Power, the Next Generation. More than a thousand customer-owners shared ideas for investing in the future. This public input informed priorities in the District's 2015 strategic plan and became the basis for the Public Power Benefit program.