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

Commissioners approve buying land for new substation to serve Olds Station

by Kimberlee Craig | Aug 22, 2017
1-acre purchase from Stemilt will improve service for industry and save on building cost

Chelan County PUD commissioners Monday unanimously approved purchase of a 1-acre parcel in Wenatchee’s Olds Station industrial area for a new substation that is close to the load center and saves the District on development costs.

Commissioners directed staff to finalize the purchase with Stemilt Growers, which agreed to provide the site for a substation in exchange for future capacity of up to 5 megawatts from the planned 28-megawatt facility. The fruit growing and packing operation will continue to pay for the power it uses per District rates.

The family-owned fruit business is expanding operations in Olds Station and had level land available that’s well located for a new substation near the area’s growing load center.

The new substation, tentatively named “Ohme,” will replace the Olds Station Substation, built in 1979. That station is at 90-percent capacity with aging equipment and not enough room to increase capacity at the location next to the Chelan highway near Keyes Fibre, said Chad Rissman, Distribution director.

In an earlier presentation, Rissman said the agreement with Stemilt grew out of a, “fortunate case of good planning by the PUD,” coming together with the opportunity offered by Stemilt.

Once the agreement is done, next steps are to apply for permits this fall, finish design and build the new substation in 2018-19. 

In other business Monday, commissioners:

  • Received an update on Public Power Benefit education and job readiness initiatives called for in the strategic plan. Lorna Klemanski, Human Resources, Labor and Safety managing director, recapped progress that includes creating a position and hiring an employee dedicated half-time to utility-focused education and mentoring and creating partnerships and programs to enhance skills for local applicants. HR, Communications and Rocky Reach Visitor Center have worked together on numerous community programs since the program’s launch last year: from Pizza, Pop and Power Tools to River Ramble to Fiestas Decembrina.
  • Heard an update on improving the aging customer information system (CIS) to offer “dashboard-type” account management features customers want, provide capacity for increased District technology and create efficiencies for staff. The District’s current customer information system is 14 years old and doesn’t provide the capabilities for increased utility technologies. John Stoll, Customer Utilities managing director, said the team devoted extra time to analyze the wide range of systems offered by vendors to make sure the new system will work with the District’s existing financial and internal control systems as well as planned technology enhancements. Final review of vendor proposals and finalizing contract terms is next with a request for board approval by the end of the year. Installation is planned to start in early 2018.   
  • Approved joining 10 other PUDs and the city of Richland in a cooperative purchasing agreement with Energy Northwest for buying common goods and/or services such as power poles, transformers, switch gear and conduit. Energy Northwest working with the members developed a joint purchasing program at no cost as a benefit to help members save on buying the common items. Bruce Porter, procurement supervisor, said the agreement will be evaluated after one year. If there’s value, then members will continue the agreement and share purchasing duties for future years.
  • Set a special meeting for the Board Workshop on Tuesdays, Sept. 19 at 9 a.m. in the Confluence Technology Center boardroom, 285 Technology Way, in Wenatchee’s Olds Station area.

Upcoming events:

  • Sept. 4 – Labor Day holiday
  • Sept. 5 – Board meeting, 10 a.m. (rescheduled due to the holiday)
  • Sept. 15-16 – Fiestas Mexicanas, Lincoln Park
  • Sept. 19 – Board Workshop, 9 a.m., Confluence Technology Center
  • Sept. 19 – Board meeting, 10 a.m.
  • Oct. 1-7 – Public Power Week

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The next regular Chelan PUD commission meeting starts at 10 a.m. on Tuesday, Sept. 5 (due to the Monday holiday), 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.