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

Chelan County families have new, low-cost option for high-speed internet access

by Kimberlee Craig | Jun 02, 2020
PUD board members get first look at package features

Chelan County PUD commissioners Monday heard the news that the PUD is partnering with LocalTel to roll out a low-cost internet access package starting at $29.95/month with no installation fees. The package is aimed at reducing the “digital divide” faced by many families as internet access is increasingly vital for students and for people working at home.

Mike Coleman, Fiber and Telecom managing director, outlined the new offering and thanked LocalTel, for recognizing a community need and responding.

The Wenatchee firm is one of nine companies offering retail services including internet, TV and telecommunications over the PUD’s high-speed broadband network. (At 01:36 on the board meeting audio recording.)

“This is really great news,” Coleman said. Adding later, “We’ve heard from school districts and our customer-owners that internet access has become as vital a service as electricity.

“A low-cost service option really answers a need in our community.”

Chelan PUD board members earlier had set wholesale fiber rates to encourage retail service providers to create more affordable options.

“We look forward to rolling out this new service that will help PUD customers who could benefit from the combined efforts of the PUD and LocalTel to provide a lower-cost option,” said company President/CEO Dimitri Mandelis in a statement sent to PUD commissioners  

The new option offers 30/5 Mbps service for up to 200 gigabytes of data a month. Additional data can be added for 20 cents a gigabyte, “which is a very good value when compared with cellular company data pricing,” Coleman said.

The cost of the LocalTel package could be even less per month for those who are eligible for “Lifeline” discount. That can reduce the cost by another $9.25 he said.

A second provider, Native Networks, also is developing a low-cost offering, Coleman said.

“I’m really excited to hear this news,” said Commissioner Steve McKenna. “It is an opportunity for low-income families to have internet access and bridge that access inequality that so many face. I appreciate all your work on this.”

People interested in this low-cost internet access package are encouraged to contact LocalTel for details and to place an order.

In other business, commissioners:

  • Reviewed steps being taken to meet the challenges posed by a forecasted move toward electrifying transportation. Chelan PUD’s low-cost, carbon-free hydropower is expected to fuel an increasing share of the county’s vehicles in the years to come. Commissioners encouraged staff to develop a “roadmap” to stay ahead of customer need while taking a balanced approach that will be wrapped into future business plans. (00:21)
  • Reviewed Public Power Benefit (PPB) funding for 2020 and started discussions on projects for 2021. Board members supported using about $1.5 million for Dryden sewer treatment plant upgrades from the $3.5 million of remaining 2020 funds. A decision on other 2020 projects will come this summer, along with discussing 2021 projects. Possibilities for the $6 million allocated for next year include more water and wastewater work; speeding up PPB fiber expansion and new river access from PUD trails. Community suggestions for discussion will be taken online starting in September. (00:09)
  • Were updated on plans for the Coyote Dunes area next to the loop trail south of Odabashian Bridge in Douglas County. A closer look revealed rare plants there that would make it difficult and costly to build amenities as originally planned. More work to evaluate and develop future recreation and conservation amenities to preserve the natural area is planned through 2021. (01:08)

Upcoming events:

  • June 15 – Commission meeting, 10 a.m., boardroom
  • July 3 – Offices closed for July 4 holiday
  • July 6 – Commission meeting, 10 a.m., boardroom

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The next regular PUD commission meeting is at 10 a.m. on Monday, June 15, 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.


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