Monday, May 12, 2008

Whidbey PUD

I am part of a group working to establish a Whidbey Public Utility District (PUD). A PUD is nonprofit, locally regulated, and exists only to serve the power and water needs of a community. Created by legislation, in 1930, PUD's are a response to private power companies neglecting the needs of rural communities. Washington's PUD's have a long, bright history of successfully solving problems, and providing great service to rural communities. The official web page of our local effort to establish a Whidbey PUD is here.

We feel Whidbey Island is being neglected by Puget Sound Energy, and that the reliability of our power is not in line with the rates we pay. Whidbey Island has a sole source of power, high-tension lines that cross Deception Pass, and a second connection point to the grid is essential to reliable service. We also feel that there are substantial opportunities for generating green power locally, particularly through tidal, wave, and micro-wind projects.

Right now we're at the petition stage, trying to get enough signatures from island residents to get a Whidbey PUD on the ballot. Should this succeed, we'll also have three openings for commissioners on the same ballot. I plan on running for a commissioner post -- it's time I gave something back to my community.

Stop by Rockhoppers to sign the petition, and watch here for information about public meetings, soon to come.

Whidbey Island PUD.


ms. kitty said...

Hi, Dan,
David Metheny Senior came to church yesterday armed with a petition and lots of us signed it. I'd love to see us with a PUD on Whidbey. My brother Buz is a PUD commissioner in Cowlitz County and can be a resource to us here. He advised Vashon Island a couple of years ago, but he warns me that PSE outspent the Vashon PUD folks by millions to defeat the initiative on the ballot. So be aware and ready to counteract their efforts to throw us off.

Anonymous said...

Hi Dan,

While I may agree with your ideas for more power options for the island, if you plan on pushing for some kind of light rail for the island, then there is no way that I would sign a petition for a PUD.

Dan said...

The light rail suggestion (in another post: here) is definitely separate from the Whidbey PUD issue. My hope is that when we get a Whidbey PUD we would not only save money but would generate money -- hopefully enough that we could subsidize better public transportation. While I'd like more service, I don't see more buses as an entirely positive step.

I think of the Whidbey PUD as a real benefit to all residents, something that's long overdue and totally necessary.

The light rail suggestion is just an idea of mine to improve our lives in the long run.

The Whidbey PUD would only have authority for electricity, and could assume authority for water from the various water districts if they like (more on that later). The transportation sector is beyond the reach of the PUD, although a subsidy on electric rates for a public transportation system is certainly doable.

Just curious, what is the big turn-off? Is it the potential cost; the potential for population growth; or something else?

Anonymous said...

The big turn off is the potential growth. A bridge to Camino Isalnd was turned down for this reason. Coupeville also voted down new water sources three times for this reason, so I'm not alone. And, just for the record, Island Transit is considered the best transit system in the state. I have yet to see one putting out a cloud of smoke like the one in the photo you showed. I don't believe that's even one of ours.

Sorry I put this in this part of you blog. It really did belong in the other post. It just sounded like light rail was something else you wanted to do as part of the PUD.

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