PUD Issues and Information 

Our policy approach:

Our 2018 positions

WPUDA resolution on Clean Energy - The Washington PUD Association Board of Directors passed a resolution in January 2018 in support of least-cost policies by the State to reduce carbon emissions while maintaining electric system reliability and affordability and improving the environment.  Members of the Washington PUD Association are already doing effective work to keep carbon emissions from the electric sector minimal and are well positioned to contribute to development of carbon reduction policies.  The resolution passed by the Board demonstrate our commitment to use our clean energy expertise to contribute in the development of sensible carbon reduction policies that effectively reduce carbon while ensuring the ability of PUDs to continue to serve customers with clean, reliable and affordable electricity.  The intent is to help shape carbon reduction policy by adding our experience and knowledge to the discussion. 

Federal issues 

WPUDA supports House Resolution 3144 which ensures the best available science remains in place to protect salmon and maintain the value of our clean hydropower resources. Click here for details.

WPUDA supports hydropower licensing reform to update an antiquated process that results in new and existing projects taking up to 10 years or longer to receive approvals. Click here for details.

WPUDA supports regional efforts to ensure Washington State continues to realize the value of Bonneville Power Administration resources.  Click here for details.

WPUDA supports a modern Columbia River Treaty with a rebalanced Canadian Entitlement.  Click here for details.

WPUDA supports preserving PUD utility pole attachment rates charged to telecommunications companies to attach equipment to utility poles that are just, reasonable, non-discriminatory and sufficient to recover PUD costs. Click here for details.

July 2018 letter to Senator's Patty Murray and Maria Cantwell opposing federal legislation impact the ability of PUDs to recover costs for pole attachments

WPUDA opposes selling assets of the Bonneville Power Administration and any effort to privatize the Power Marketing Agencies, including BPA. Click here for details.

State issues

Created and owned by communities they serve and operated under the direction of locally-elected Boards of Commissioners, the members of the Washington PUD Association (WPUDA) including 27 public utility districts and a joint-operating agency (Energy Northwest), are committed to providing safe, reliable and affordable service. The Washington PUD Association supports public policy that ensures our members’ ability to effectively and efficiently manage the systems, resources and services that drive local economies and enhance the quality of life for residents in 28 counties across the State of Washington.

Energy

  • Consistent and equitable treatment of incremental federal hydropower under the Energy Independence Act:  WPUDA supports modification to the EIA that would provide equal recognition for the value of zero carbon hydropower produced as a result of efficiency improvements to the federal hydropower system.  The current Energy Independence Act only counts incremental hydropower produced as a result of efficiency improvements at utility-owned projects as an eligible renewable resource.  Over 2.3 million Washington consumers pay millions of dollars for federal hydro efficiency improvements through rates but do not receive equal recognition for their investments in clean, renewable hydropower. WPUDA supports modifying the EIA to address this discrepancy by providing equal recognition for efficiency improvements at federal hydropower facilities that results in increased clean energy.
  • Providing a pathway for utilities to support low-income energy assistance programs through a B&O tax exemption on credits returned to utilities from the Bonneville Power Administration. WPUDA supports legislation that would reenact a B&O tax exemption that was in place from 2010-2015, which ensures that funds used by electric utilities for energy conservation expenses are not subject to state B&O tax and instead, directs the B&O tax savings to low-income ratepayer assistance programs. Currently PUDs are taxed on funds returned from the Bonneville Power Administration for achieved conservation.  While this is not new revenue, simply money credited back to the utility, the Department of Revenue subjects it to the B&O tax. WPUDA supports enacting a B&O tax exemption on funds returned from BPA for utilities that use the tax savings amount for low-income ratepayer assistance.   
  • Reducing carbon emissions in the transportation sector by authorizing PUDs to provide electric vehicle incentives:  Public utility districts serve communities with some of the cleanest energy in the country and can play an instrumental role in reducing carbon from the state’s highest carbon emitting sector, transportation, by electrification of vehicles.  PUDs are seeking the authority to provide incentives for EV charging equipment that would support the state’s carbon reduction goals and maximize the value of PUDs’ clean energy resources.

Water

  • Low cost infrastructure funding:  Low-cost financing for infrastructure investments is important to providing reliable utility services while keeping rates affordable.  The Public Works Trust Fund has served as a vital resource for PUDs seeking low-cost loans to fund infrastructure.  Since 2013, however, the Legislature has taken nearly all tax revenue and loan-repayment proceeds from the Public Works Assistance Account (PWAA) to help fund basic K-12 education and balance the state budget. Loss of PWAA revenue, which comes from water and sewer utility taxes, the real estate excise tax and repayment of past loans, has resulted in severe cuts in the Public Works Trust Fund’s ability to provide low-interest loans for PUD water and wastewater projects and other basic infrastructure projects of cities, counties and water-sewer districts. WPUDA supports ensuring a state funding mechanism, through the PWAA or an alternative approach, that will provide a low-cost, predictable, stable funding resource for utility investments well into the future. 
  • Ensuring funding for PUD projects through passage of a capital budget:  Passage of the capital budget is vital to PUD projects and communities across the state. For water and wastewater utilities, the lack of a budget means a halt to the $97 million in Public Works Trust Fund loans and $5 million in water system acquisition and rehabilitation grants. 
  • Fix for Hirst/Foster court rulings:  The State Supreme Court’s Hirst and Foster decisions impact rural and urban water access.  WPUDA supports a legislative fix to address the impacts of the decisions to ensure that residents in rural areas and customers of water utilities including PUDs have access to water in an environmentally responsible manner.

Telecom

  • Retail telecom authority: The Washington PUD Association supports legislation that will help ensure greater access to internet services across Washington State by providing community-owned, not-for-profit public utility districts with the authority to provide customers with retail services.
  • Enhancing consumer access, affordability, and quality of broadband and advanced telecommunications services: WPUDA supports legislation which provides the framework necessary for efficient deployment of the new generation of wireless service while addressing the need for greater broadband access in unserved and underserved areas. This framework could include establishment of an  “Office on Broadband Access” to coordinate public and private efforts to ensure greater access to broadband services across the state and creation of a broadband access task force to assist the Governor’s office in reviewing existing broadband initiatives, policies, and investments and provide recommendations to advance the state’s broadband goals.