Environment

Thurston PUD considers public power

Apparently, the Thurston County PUD Commissioners are considering doing a study of the feasibility of public power in our area. (As I understand it, in the most basic terms, this would involve buying out Puget Sound Energy's facilities in our area, and would offer two principle possible benefits - more local control, and reduced costs for consumers (mostly because PUDs have priority rights to the cheaper power produced by Bonneville's publicly constructed dams.) At this point, PSE's average power cost is about 6.5 cents, vs. 3.2 cents for BPA, and the Washington State PUD Association did a study concluding that such shifts would save the newly created PUD's customers "up to 20%" on their electric bills. (Unfortunately, this second benefit wouldn't mean that there was any more cheap renewable power in the grid - it would just mean that we got a somewhat bigger share of the pie, and that the customers of private utilities got a somewhat smaller share.) Apparently, several other PUDs in PSE's service area are considering similar moves.

Emmett O'Connell posted about this issue when it was debated by the candidates for Commissioner in the 2008 PUD election, and included video of their discussion, but you probably weren't glued to the screen following that...

Currently, the Thurston PUD only deals with supplying water to about 4,000 connections (although many other PUDs around the state are electric utilities, and a few are starting to provide some public internet access) so this would transform the utility.

I got a forwarded email about this, saying:

Thurston PUD considers public power

Event: 
Tue, 01/10/2012 - 5:00pm

Apparently, the Thurston County PUD Commissioners are considering doing a study of the feasibility of public power in our area. (As I understand it, in the most basic terms, this would involve buying out Puget Sound Energy's facilities in our area, and would offer two principle possible benefits - more local control, and reduced costs for consumers (mostly because PUDs have priority rights to the cheaper power produced by Bonneville's publicly constructed dams.) At this point, PSE's average power cost is about 6.5 cents, vs. 3.2 cents for BPA, and the Washington State PUD Association did a study concluding that such shifts would save the newly created PUD's customers "up to 20%" on their electric bills. (Unfortunately, this second benefit wouldn't mean that there was any more cheap renewable power in the grid - it would just mean that we got a somewhat bigger share of the pie, and that the customers of private utilities got a somewhat smaller share.) Apparently, several other PUDs in PSE's service area are considering similar moves.

Emmett O'Connell posted about this issue when it was debated by the candidates for Commissioner in the 2008 PUD election, and included video of their discussion, but you probably weren't glued to the screen following that...

Currently, the Thurston PUD only deals with supplying water to about 4,000 connections (although many other PUDs around the state are electric utilities, and a few are starting to provide some public internet access) so this would transform the utility.

I got a forwarded email about this, saying:

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