Public Power Benefit Program

Help Chelan PUD enhance the quality of life for customer-owners. Share your ideas!

The Public Power Benefit program allocates funds in community-minded projects -- the best value for the most people for the longest time. Here are some examples:

  • Expanding access to fiber internet
  • Day use parking pass program to Daroga, Lincoln Rock and Wenatchee Confluence
  • Installation of five electric vehicle charging stations
  • Purchasing of seven bronze sculptures for permanent residence at Riverfront Park
  • Modernizing Discovery Center exhibits
  • Internships for persons with cognitive disabilities
Where does funding for the program come from? Surplus power is sold on the wholesale power market, allowing us to pay down debt and reinvest back into our community. Here’s how it works: 

What shall we invest in next? We accept project ideas and requests throughout the year. Investments made under the Public Power Benefit program must fall within the PUD's authority as a public utility. That generally means the project should have some connection with one or more of these categories:

  • Enhancements to existing PUD Parks & Recreation
  • Fiber & Telecom services
  • Environmental protection and habitat restoration
  • Promotion of Electrification
  • Education and job readiness specific to utility services
  • Aesthetic enhancements to PUD facilities

Ask yourself, does your idea support one or more of these community priorities:  

  • Improve economic development?
  • Improve education and job readiness in our community?
  • Enhance environmental stewardship?
  • Meet an unmet recreation need?
  • Support diversity, inclusiveness and underserved populations?
  • Complement efforts of other entities?

If the concept is within our authority, then the idea is reviewed by staff. Ideas will be ranked based on the above community priorities and the highest scoring projects will be taken to our elected board of commissioners for consideration and possible approval. Please note that the Commission is planning to fully fund fiber internet expansion over the next five years. 

Projects should generally by submitted by May 1 to be considered for the following year’s budget and work plan. However, project requests are accepted year round and if funding and resources are available, it is possible that some projects could still be funded after May 1. 

Public Power Benefit Project Application

Questions? Email, and we’ll get back to you.

Public Power Benefit News

PUD commissioners discuss impacts of Coronavirus crisis on customer owners, employees and District operations

by Kimberlee Craig | Mar 31, 2020
Board members direct staff to take steps to respond

Chelan County PUD commissioners on Monday spent considerable time talking about the implications of the coronavirus crisis for the District and directed staff to take the following actions:

  • Prepare a resolution to postpone the adopted rate increase that was scheduled to go into effect on June 1 for action at the next board meeting on April 13
  • Prepare to discuss on April 13 extending no shutoffs of utility service and waiving of late fees past April 27
  • Consider whether the PUD can do more to support residential and small business customers who are being negatively impacted by the coronavirus crisis

“We need to do our part to help our community during a time of need, where we can under our authority,” said Commissioner Randy Smith.

Board members also heard about the districtwide impacts that the coronavirus is having on the ability to accomplish its 2020 Performance Plan. Those include: (At 00:35 on the board meeting audio recording.)   

  • All the PUD employees who can are working remotely, far exceeding the system design and information technology adjustments have been made to allow productive engagement by staff working remotely
  • Work practices have been changed to minimize the risk of work needing to be performed without adequate social distancing
  • Provisions have been made to ensure reliable electric, internet, water and wastewater service along with meeting all environmental and regulatory requirements
  • An increasing number of customer calls are being answered

Those actions mean construction projects are slowed, some maintenance is being deferred and work is being restructured to allow for social distancing. For the roughly 50 percent of meters not read by drive-by mechanism, bills will be determined on an estimated basis until meter readers can safely get back in the field.

“We are seeking to meet our twin goals of protecting employee and public health while assuring reliable utility services will be maintained,” said General Manager Steve Wright. Added Wright, “Our District plan for work to be accomplished in 2020 has taken some pretty heavy body blows.” 

In other business, commissioners:

  • Heard a report that has been in the works for months seeking to better understand how well the District’s program for low income customers serves the need. Commissioners noted the information will be very useful as they consider actions to aid customer-owners during the next months. (00:13)
  • Reviewed new criteria for the Public Power Benefit program called for in the 2020-2024 strategic plan, acknowledging that the District is in good financial health. Using the new criteria, the board agreed to use a $6-million-per-year input for financial forecasts through 2024 and recognized that Public Power Benefit dollars could be used to help address the difficult economic times being faced by customer-owners due to the coronavirus crisis, but only consistent with statutory authority. (02:30)
  • Continuing to move forward to pursue the opportunity for historically low financing costs despite the turmoil in the financial markets, commissioners authorized the sale of bonds for financing as long as net present value savings can be created for the District’s customer-owners. Direction from the board doesn’t require the sale of bonds, but offers the ability to issue bonds if there is a window of opportunity. Beginning next week, local residents interested in purchasing bonds will be able to find information on the District website’s Finances page about how they can submit orders through a local broker selling group. (02:19)

Upcoming events:

  • April 13 – Commission meeting, 10 a.m., PUD boardroom
  • April 14 – Tri-Commission meeting, 1 a.m., Confluence Technology Center, 285 Technology Way, Wenatchee
  • April 27, Commission meeting, 10 a.m., PUD boardroom

* * *

The next regular PUD commission meeting is at 10 a.m. on Monday, April 13, 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 Find us at and follow us on Twitter @ChelanPUD. 

Here for you, providing the best for the most for the longest –