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 consider reliability goal, new investments to reduce outages

by Rachel Hansen | Oct 03, 2023

During the inaugural board meeting at the new Service Center, commissioners discussed electric reliability -- one of Chelan PUD’s most important duties. Staff recommended that the utility adopt a five-year reliability goal that meets customer satisfaction and fits the unique characteristics in Chelan County. (starts at 00:00:08 on the board audio recording).

“Our goal is to create a reliability metric that is achievable, and it should balance cost, risk and performance,” said Distribution Asset Manager Chad Rissman.

Outages vary in frequency and duration across the 50,729 customers Chelan PUD serves. The most common causes are vegetation, animals, weather and equipment repair.

An analysis of a dozen West Coast utilities of similar size, with forested terrain and wildfire risk, showed a range 65 to 345 minutes of outage time per customer. Chelan PUD is on track to end the year at 89 outage minutes.

“We’re at 89 minutes right now, and we want to get back down to the 70-minute range by making investments and improvements,” Rissman said.

When asked about satisfaction related to electrical reliability, 96-98% of Chelan PUD customers said they were “satisfied” to “very satisfied” during years when Chelan PUD averaged 74 to 77 outage minutes per customer.

“By setting a five-year goal between 44 to 67 minutes, it’s not only an improvement over customer expectations, but it is also within the top quartile for comparable utilities,” Rissman said.

Another challenge to reliability is mitigating wildfire risk. Since 2021, Chelan PUD has operated the electrical grid with a higher level of sensitivity during fire season in fire-prone areas, which lowered the risk of electrical equipment starting a fire, but increased the number of outages.

Chelan PUD is planning to invest in three strategies to improve reliability: cable replacement, tree-trimming, and using new technology to reduce the impact of wildfire mitigation settings. With those investments, PUD staff recommended a goal to reduce outage time over the next five years to an average of 42 to 67 minutes a year.

“We do think customer expectations are going to increase over time because of all the things they rely on,” General Manager Kirk Hudson said. “We’re trying to arrive at a goal that allows continuous improvement. We want to stay a step ahead of customer expectations.”

In other news, commissioners:

  • Approved a resolution not to adopt new ratemaking standards in accordance with the Public Utility Regulatory Policy Act. (01:06:00)
  • Approved a one-time increase from $6 million to $10 million for the Public Power Benefit fund to support five community-minded projects, with capacity for new projects if needed. (01:09:00)

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