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

Commissioners support funding boost for community-minded projects

by Rachel Hansen | Sep 19, 2023

Chelan PUD commissioners expressed support Monday for a one-time increase of $4 million to the $6 million Public Power Benefit fund for 2024. (starts around 00:47:00 on the board audio recording) The board will formally vote on a resolution in October.

The increase would allow the PUD to pursue five community-minded projects and keep the program open for additional requests:

  • Expanded fiber network: Accelerates the expansion of the PUD’s broadband network in order to provide access to 85 percent of Chelan County customers by 2026.
  • Fiber expansion design: Funds the development of preliminary designs and cost estimates for the next phase of expanding the wholesale fiber network. The study will inform future decisions by the Fiber department and commissioners.
  • Stehekin reliability: Explores solutions to increase electrical capacity in the remote community of Stehekin as energy demands grow and change.
  • Manson parks connection: Connects the PUD-owned Manson Bay Park and the Old Swim Hole with an elevated boardwalk that would provide safe, continuous access and protect the riparian area.
  • Fifth Street redevelopment: Creates an internal road and sidewalk through the Fifth Street campus to connect the separate parcels in a way that’s consistent with the community vision for redevelopment.

Commissioners created the Public Power Benefit program in 2015 as part of Chelan PUD’s vision to enhance the quality of life in Chelan County. About $6 million a year is earmarked to support projects that fall within the PUD’s authority as a public utility. Funding is contingent on the utility meeting its financial obligations.

Every year, Chelan PUD invites customers and partner agencies to send their ideas on potential projects. In 2023, 12 applications were submitted. A team of two commissioners and several staff members evaluated the applications based on cost, timeline, project management and other criteria.

In other news, commissioners:

  • Reviewed a revised term sheet regarding the sale of property from the PUD’s Fifth Street campus to the YMCA. The YMCA requested to purchase an estimated 144,000 square feet, about 51% more property than the originally proposed in June. (00:00:32)
  • Held a public hearing regarding electrical vehicle charging, demand-response programs and ratemaking standards. (00:00:16)

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