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

Customers like stable rates, low debt and PUD support for environment and economic development

by Kimberlee Craig | Aug 06, 2019
Commissioners reviews insights from strategic planning survey

Chelan County PUD is nearing the finish line for a new strategic plan for 2020-2024.

On Monday, commissioners reviewed themes from survey comments by customer-owners and proposals for strategic priorities and objectives for the next five years. (At about 02:20 on the board meeting audio recording.)

“Strategic planning is the most important work we do,” said General Manager Steve Wright. “Our customer-owners have provided direction on ‘big picture’ topics,’ and now we’re focused on putting their comments into an action plan.”

After reviewing each of about 3,600 survey comments, staff proposed adding a fourth strategic priority, updating existing priorities and defining the objectives that support them. All support the Board’s vision to provide the best value for the most people for the longest time, said Justin Erickson, District Services managing director.

Priorities proposed for 2020-2024 are:

  • Invest in assets and people and seek industry top-quartile performance for hydro generation, retail reliability and safety while improving customer service technology
  • Sustain excellent financial resiliency while mitigating the risk of large rate increases
  • Enhance the quality of life in Chelan County through programs that distribute the benefits of public power
  • Engage in countywide growth planning and job creation while ensuring the District’s rates and policies are stable and predictable

New objectives to support that work include:

  • Seek operational excellence through continuous improvement mindset (emphasizing efficiency, effectiveness, compliance, risk-assessment and resiliency
  • Advance human and organizational performance
  • Encourage innovation

Erickson also reviewed proposed actions in response to feedback on key strategic questions including:

  • Continue the Public Power Benefit program
  • Pursue “early action” on environment and recreation efforts that could earn a longer  term during Rock Island Dam relicensing
  • Support countywide economic development as long as rate impact is small
  • Stay with current policy that people who benefit pay for aesthetic improvements
  • Move Fiber to be financially self-sustaining in five years; help Water and Wastewater be more self-sustaining; update rate design; and create a fund to help keep electric rates stable.   

Staff will return with a draft of the new Strategic Plan on Aug. 19. There will be a month for public review and comments. Commissioners will be asked to adopt a final plan on Sept. 16.

In other business, commissioners:

  • Held a hearing to gather comments on declaring a 45-acre parcel of mostly steep hillside along Highway 97 in Douglas County surplus to District needs. After considering comments, board members deemed the land surplus and approved selling it to Douglas County Fire District 4 for $95,000. (02:10)
  • Reviewed financial results from April to June. Overall, power contract revenue and insurance proceeds from a settlement for the Rocky Reach large unit repairs offset impacts from less water to generate power and from generating unit outages. Based on the results, forecasts are for a year-end bottom line of nearly $106 million, about $29 million ahead of budget. (note: the morning study session wasn’t recorded)
  • Reviewed the second quarter update on the District Performance Plan.
  • Reviewed next steps for implementing strategic facilities plans at Rock Island and Rocky Reach dams.

Upcoming events:

  • Aug. 6 – National Night Out, 6 p.m., Eastmont Community Park 
  • Aug. 19 - Commission meeting, 10 a.m. PUD boardroom
  • Sept. 2 – Labor Day holiday
  • Sept. 3 - Commission meeting, 10 a.m. PUD boardroom (on Tuesday due to the holiday)
  • Sept. 16 – Commission meeting, 10 a.m. PUD boardroom
  • Sept. 30 – Commission workshop, 9 a.m., Confluence Technology Center

* * *

The next regular PUD commission meeting is at 10 a.m. on Monday, Aug. 19, in the boardroom at 327 N. Wenatchee Ave. 

Chelan PUD records most commission meetings, and a link to the audio is available on the PUD’s home page at www.chelanpud.org. Find us at Facebook.com/ChelanPUD and follow us on Twitter @ChelanPUD. 

Here for you, providing the best for the most for the longest – chelanpud.org

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.