Local Jobs, Local Power, Local Control
A message from PUD District 1 Commissioner, Jeff Randall.
In 2008 the citizens of Jefferson County voted to allow our small PUD to get into the power business. Citizens campaigned that a publicly owned, locally controlled PUD could better provide our county with reliable and affordable power than a for-profit corporation. The campaign, with the slogan “local jobs, local power, and local control” was victorious despite being outspent by a factor of 6:1.
This was the first challenge of many. It took years of negotiations and many long commission meetings before the PUD was able to complete the purchase of the electric system and begin providing 96% carbon-free electricity to the citizens of Jefferson County on April 1st, 2013.
Unsurprisingly, transforming a small utility with 8 employees into a power utility with more than 50 employees came with growing pains. Billing software designed for water utilities proved incompatible with the rigorous reporting federal agency requirements leading to several years of failed financial audits.
Changes at the commissioner level and changes in management at the staff level have transformed the PUD to where we are today.
The organization is more professional and more capable. We routinely pass our financial audits and our decision-making, as well as our budget process, is open and transparent. And the PUD has been successful in bringing millions of dollars in state and federal funds to invest in local broadband, water, and electric infrastructure.
Our PUD has grown and transformed dramatically in the past 10 years. We are tackling tough infrastructure challenges such as sewer for the tri-area and high-speed broadband for the whole county.
I look forward to the next 10 years and the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead.