Media Fact Sheet

Rock Island Dam

  • First dam on the Columbia River (built by Stone and Webster for Puget Power)
  • First power produced in 1933
  • Powerhouse expanded in 1953 for Alcoa (dam acquired by PUD)
  • Added second powerhouse in 1979
  • Generator nameplate capacity rating of 629 megawatts of electricity
  • 18 generators (10 vertical and 8 horizontal bulb turbines), plus one house unit.

Rocky Reach Dam

  • Construction started in 1956, with first commercial power in 1961
  • Powerhouse expanded in 1971, adding four larger units
  • 11 generators
  • Generator nameplate capacity of 1,300 megawatts of electricity

Lake Chelan Dam and powerhouse

  • Finished in 1928 by Washington Water Power; acquired by Chelan County PUD in 1955
  • Two generating units; nameplate capacity of 59 MW of electricity   
  • Powerhouse is along the Columbia River, two miles below the dam, fed by penstock 2.1 miles long
  • Project regulates surface level of Lake Chelan between 1,079 and 1,100 feet above sea level

Total hydro capacity

Total generator nameplate capacity of PUD’s electrical generation is 1,988 MW, enough to run about a million Northwest homes of average electrical use. One megawatt can supply about 500 average Northwest homes.

Where does the power go?

  • The locally owned dams can generate nearly 2,000 megawatts of power at their peak
  • Nearly 30 percent of the output is used to meet retail electric demand and support utility services in Chelan County.
  • Another 26 percent is sold by contract to Alcoa’s Wenatchee aluminum smelter, supplying a portion of the power needs of the plant that provides important family wage jobs
  • The balance is delivered throughout the Pacific Northwest through long-term power contracts and short-term slice contracts.
  • Chelan County PUD is a nonprofit corporation of the state, covered by many of the rules that govern municipal corporations. Dividends are shared with customers in the form of low rates. The District does not make a profit.


  • PUD created by a vote of the people of Chelan County in 1936
  • First electrical service provided in 1947 at Antoine Valley near Chelan

Media contacts

Rachel Hansen: (509) 661-4320


Contact Customer Service, (509 )661-8002

  • Chelan County PUD has about 52,000 electrical customers   
  • Chelan PUD has about 6,800 domestic water and sewer customers
  • Chelan PUD has about 18,000 fiber end-user connections


Contact Human Resources, (509) 661-4793

  • The PUD has about 750 year-round employees



Contact Finance, (509) 661-4289

  • Expenditures budgeted for 2020: $440 million (operating, capital and scheduled debt payments)    

Fiber Optics

Contact Engineering and Technology, (509) 661-4151

  • Chelan County PUD has built its wholesale fiber-optic network to provide access to nearly 30,000 premises
  • A network of private service providers offer high-speed Internet, television, telephone and other services over the PUD’s fiber to more than 18,000 end-users    


Contact Licensing, (509) 661-4180

  • New 50-year federal license issued to the PUD for Lake Chelan Hydro Project in 2006
  • New 43-year federal license issued to the PUD for Rock Reach Hydro Project in February 2009
  • Rock Island Hydro Project licensed through 2028

Fish Bypass

Contact Natural Resources, (509) 661-4178
  • Unique bypass system installed at Rocky Reach Hydro Project collects young salmon and steelhead on the upstream side of the dam and channels them past the dam through a large pipe.
  • Bypass completed at a cost of $107 million in 2003    


Contact Parks, (509) 661-4550
  • The PUD has built 14 parks that serve more than 3 million visitors a year
  • Some parks have been turned over to other agencies to manage


Contact Water/Wastewater, (509) 661-4494

  • PUD operates five domestic water systems in suburban Wenatchee and other rural areas of Chelan County
  • PUD operates three wastewater systems in rural communities of Chelan County