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 review PUD's 2017 performance

by Kimberlee Craig | Feb 06, 2018
More than 85 percent of the 232 items on last year’s plan are on track or complete

On projects ranging from Public Power Benefit safety improvements at the Plain Substation to efficiency programs that saved enough power for 700 homes to major investments at Chelan PUD’s hydro projects, General Manager Steve Wright reported Monday that District staff are on track or completed 85 percent of the 2017 performance plan.

Many of the uncompleted 2017 projects are multi-year projects, ongoing efforts or required schedule changes into 2018 to respond to other unexpected work and competing priorities. Chelan County PUD commissioners Monday reviewed the utility’s performance on 232 tracked actions that support its seven strategic objectives (on page 27).

PUD senior managers report on progress every three months. Monday’s year-end wrap-up focused on status changes and items completed in the last three months of 2017. (Discussion starts at 0:06 on the board meeting recording.)

For energy efficiency, customers who took part in PUD conservation programs helped the utility meet its 2017 stretch goal for saving 2.1 average megawatts, reported Andrew Grassell, Energy Development/Conservation manager. (0:52)

That is enough to power more than 700 Chelan County homes. Much of those savings -- about 12 million kilowatt hours -- went to efficiency improvements at businesses and government buildings. In particular, two large projects with fruit company Stemilt secured reaching the goal. The savings are valued at $5.8 million over the life of the conservation measures.

Wright also noted that the 2018 performance plan has 100 more actions than last year. Many of the measures focus on projects in 2018’s capital plan, which is the District’s largest in at least the last 20 years, he has said in earlier discussions.

In other business, commissioners:

  • Heard that 2017 net wholesale revenue and other energy-related revenue of $123.9 million came in about $2 million more than budget.  Janet Jaspers, Energy Planning and Trading manager, said “specified source” sales, recognizing hydropower’s carbon-free energy, were $4.6 million, which was $1.5 million above budget. (00:40)
  • Jaspers also reported on the early forecast for Columbia River flows past Grand Coulee Dam, upstream of the PUD’s Rocky Reach and Rock Island dams. Based on snowpack so far this winter, forecast flow for January-July 2018 is 110 percent of average. Forecast runoff into Lake Chelan for April-July is 104 percent of average. (00:42)
  • Changed the May board meeting schedule by moving the May 7 meeting to April 30 and the May 21 meeting to May 14 so commissioners can attend utility conferences later in the month. (01:25)

Upcoming events:

  • Feb. 19 – Presidents Day holiday
  • Feb. 20 – Commission meeting, 10 a.m., boardroom
  • March 5 – Commission meeting, 10 a.m., boardroom
  • March 19 – Commission meeting, 10 a.m., boardroom

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The next regular Chelan PUD commission meeting starts at 10 a.m. on Tuesday, Feb. 20, (due to the Monday, Feb. 19, 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.