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

New technology paves the way for a more efficient PUD

by Rachel Hansen | Dec 07, 2020

Chelan PUD is developing new sensor technology and predictive models for its hydro projects to operate more efficiently, reduce downtime and generate more clean, reliable power.

PUD commissioners heard a report from Hydro Engineering Manager John Yale about tools in development. (0:31:54 on the board audio)

Once deployed, the PUD can use the new technology and data to:

  • Predict how changes in operating conditions affect the lifespan of its generators. Staff is working with members of the Hydropower Research Institute to calibrate the predictive data models to apply to different kinds of hydro projects around the world.
  • Keep hydro operators and engineers apprised of small anomalies – such as a slight change in vibration or temperature – that could be an early signal of a developing issue.
  • Detect when water has entered a turbine hub. In the past, the unit would shut down for three days while crews inspected the inside of the turbine. The new sensor would reduce downtime to 10 minutes.

“This is real innovation and we committed to that in our strategic plan,” said Commissioner Ann Congdon. “This is pretty exciting. This is how it should work.”

In other news, commissioners:

  • Approved the 2021 budget after two hearings and no public comment. (01:25:38)
  • Heard a preview of relevant issues under consideration during the state legislative session (0:14:00)
  • Heard a report that the PUD has exceeded its energy conservation goals by working directly with industrial, residential and commercial customer-owners to save energy (0:54:00)
  • Chose to delay until spring plans to ask the public for more ideas for Public Power Benefit projects with the hope that covid-19 vaccine availability will create more opportunities for the public to be involved (01:03:32)
  • Extended an agreement with local internet service providers to continue offering free wifi hotspots through 2021 (01:30:31).

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The next regular PUD commission meeting is at 10 a.m. on Monday, Dec. 21. The public is welcome to attend remotely in accordance with the latest guidance from the state Department of Health.

Here for you, providing the best value for the most people for the longest time