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

Board approves new strategic plan; puts focus now on meeting priorities

by Kimberlee Craig | Oct 08, 2019
Proposed business plans lay out Chelan PUD’s 5-year “to do” list

Chelan PUD commissioners Monday unanimously approved the utility’s new strategic plan and quickly moved the focus from planning to getting the work done that supports the District’s priorities.

General Manager Steve Wright said the strategic plan for 2020-2024 reflects commissioners’ vision to provide the best value for the most people for the longest time. Five-year business plans reviewed Monday laid out what each division will do to carry out that vision. (At 01:40 on the board meeting audio recording)

“Consistent with the strategic plan, we’re focusing on improving in the areas of hydro system capability, retail reliability, safety, customer service technology, resiliency and innovation,” Wright said. “At the same time we’re committed to keeping PUD finances strong.”

Four priorities lead the PUD’s strategic roadmap for the next five years:

  • 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

Chelan PUD will continue the Public Power Benefit program, including the broadband network expansion.

Developing and putting new “technology roadmaps” (see slide 13) in place are among the key elements to implement the five-year business plans that support the strategic priorities. Each of the PUD’s nine divisions has a stake in this initiative, Wright said. Technology is needed to improve customers’ experience, monitor and supply data crucial for good decision-making, strengthen IT systems and provide employees access in the field, he said.

The strategic plan includes inflation-level annual rate increases for the electric and fiber businesses and roughly 4 percent for water and wastewater businesses. The plan also forecasts that energy markets will continue to evolve and remain uncertain.

Commissioners applauded the staff work and customer-owner feedback that went into the new strategic plan.

”Thank you for all the great work and for a great document,” said Commissioner Steve McKenna.

Added, Commissioner Randy Smith: “It’s time to get going. It’s been a long road to get here. I appreciate the effort from everyone involved.”

Staff will finalize the five-year business plans and prepare the draft 2020 budget for commission review on Nov. 4.

In other business, commissioners:

  • Remarked on national Public Power Week and the many community benefits customer-owned utilities like Chelan PUD offer including great parks, low rates, carbon-free power and local control. (See events list below.) (03:448)
  • Remembered former General Manager Gerald “Jerry” Copp, a 30-year PUD employee who led the utility from 1982-92. Copp was a Washington State University graduate and electrical engineer who moved to Wenatchee in 1962 to work for the PUD.  He died on Sept. 15 in Wenatchee following a long illness( 00:11)
  • Received an update on the supported employment pilot program that offers job experience for people with cognitive disabilities. The 18-month pilot is a Public Power Benefit. A video showed Sydney Lackey at work on routine tasks that free other employees for more complex work. She is working at the PUD for nine months as one of two pilot employees. The second employee will start work in December. “I’m so grateful we’ve evolved to a point where we’re offering this pilot program. Thank you, everyone,” said Commissioner Ann Congdon.” (01:20)  
  • Were updated on construction to improve facilities at Rock Island and Rocky Reach dams, plus the next steps in design for the new Service Center at Olds Station. Dan Frazier, Shared Services director, said employees will seek community feedback on aesthetics and public space concepts for the new office building at this week’s Public Power Week events. A community workshop last week followed up on scenarios developed for the Fifth Street campus once the PUD moves and consolidates operations. (02:05 & 00:55
  • Were invited to open houses to discuss what goes into deciding where to build the PUD’s fiber network next. The gatherings are 4:30-6 p.m. on Oct. 8 at the PUD’s Leavenworth office; Oct. 9 at the Entiat Fire Hall and Oct. 10 at the Manson Grange Hall. (03:45)

Upcoming events:

  • Oct. 6-13 – Public Power Week
  • Oct. 8 – Fiber Open House, 4:30 p.m., PUD Leavenworth office
  • Oct. 9 – PPW “Customer Thank You” cider & doughnuts, 1-5 p.m., Chelan & Leavenworth offices
  • Oct. 9 – Fiber Open House, 4:30 p.m., Entiat Fire Hall
  • Oct. 10 – Fiber Open House, 4:30 p.m., Manson Grange Hall
  • Oct. 11 – PPW “Customer Thank You” cider & doughnuts, 11:30-1:30 p.m., Wenatchee office
  • Oct. 13 – Fall Harvest Roundup & PPW celebration  - 1-4 p.m. Rocky Reach Park
  • Oct. 21 – Commission Meeting, 10 a.m., boardroom
  • Oct. 31 – Discovery Center closes for season & renovation
  • Nov. 1 – Night at the Museum: Saying Goodbye, 5:30 p.m., Discovery Center 

* * *

The next regular PUD commission meeting is at 10 a.m. on Monday, Oct. 21, 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.