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

Two new power contracts will add $40 million to PUD bottom line

by Kimberlee Craig | Aug 08, 2017
Contract proceeds will boost forecasted revenue for 2019-2030

Chelan County PUD commissioners Monday heard the good news that two new power sales contracts will boost forecasted PUD revenue by $40 million starting in 2019. Each sale is for a 5-percent “slice” of power generated at Rocky Reach and Rock Island dams.

Gregg Carrington, Energy Resources managing director, said the sales are for five years to Avangrid Renewables LLC of Portland, Ore., starting in 2019 and for 10 years to Avista Corp., based in Spokane, starting in 2021.  The sales extend the PUD’s successful hedging strategy that returns value to customer-owners by locking in revenue, reducing risk from price swings in the wholesale market, variable streamflow and from operations, which help keep electric rates stable.

“This is good news for customers and for continued financial strength for the District,” Carrington said.

The report came as Energy Planning and Trading updated board members on second-quarter results. So far for 2017 net wholesale revenue and other energy-related revenue is forecast to end the year at $124.2 million, which is $ 2.3 million ahead of budget.

In addition, overall financial results exceeded budget through June. Forecasts call for the PUD to end 2017 with bottom-line results nearly $10 million better than budget and meeting or exceeding all fiscal targets. Debt to equity is forecasted to end the year at 37.8 percent, exceeding this year’s target and nearing the goal of less than 35 percent by 2019.  Long-term, District financial policies are on track for managing declining bottom-line forecasts due to anticipated lower market prices through 2021.

Revenue so far is higher due to below-average winter temperatures and the cost-plus long-term power contracts, while operating costs have been lower. Finance staff recommended staying the course on strategic priorities of investing in key assets and employees, paying down debt ($52 million in 2017) and continuing the Public Power Benefit program.

In other business Monday, commissioners:

  • Reviewed the results of detailed evaluation to determine if parts of original generating units B1-B4 at Rock Island Dam can be reused as the units are modernized. Based on component conditions, Brett Bickford, Engineering and Project Management director, said staff recommended using the contract option with Andritz Hydro to replace rather than reuse rotor poles, wicket gates (on three units) and generator shafts to reduce delays in completing the upgrades and for the financial benefit of longer unit life. Board members agreed and revised the project budget by $5.75 million to $70.05 million.    
  • Reviewed details of a proposed agreement with the state Department of Ecology that, if approved, could allow Ecology and Chelan County to move ahead on long-standing water permit applications for the Lake Chelan Water Basin. The proposed agreement between Chelan PUD and Ecology would maintain Chelan PUD’s commitment to provide 65,000 acre-feet of water per year from Lake Chelan - as administered by Ecology. It also protects the PUD’s hydropower water right for the Lake Chelan Hydro Project, said Marcie Clement, Water Resources manager. The agreement would establish an estimated number for the remaining amount available for water rights. In addition, it establishes an annual accounting by Ecology of remaining water, based on the agreed-to estimated amount available. Board action on the proposed amendment to a 1992 agreement is set for Sept. 5.
  • Reviewed and approved final contract documents for replacing the aging lagoon system at the Lake Wenatchee Wastewater Treatment. Finished in July the project included replacing lagoons and baffles and installing new electrical controls and monitoring systems. Gary Rice, project manager, said the successful work ensures the plant meets state water quality standards. The revised contract price is $763,227.
  • Congratulated Maura Gillin, Generation Asset Management senior analyst, and Katie Marshall, Pole Attachment manager, on being named among the 30 Under 35 community leaders honored by The Wenatchee World for business  
  • Changed the start time for the Aug. 21 board study session to 9 a.m. with plans to immediately go into executive session.   

Upcoming events:

  • Aug. 14 –PUD Kids Eclipse Workshop, 5:30 p.m., Walla Walla Point Park Shelter 1
  • Aug. 21 – Board meeting, 9 a.m.
  • Sept. 4 – Labor Day holiday
  • Sept. 5 – Board meeting, 10 a.m. (rescheduled due to the holiday)

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The next regular Chelan PUD commission meeting starts at 11 a.m. on Monday, Aug 21, 2017, in the boardroom at 327 N. Wenatchee Ave. 

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.