Commissioner explains public utility districts

Letter to the editor, published in The Olympian, October 28, 2012:

 JACK JANDA | Shelton (Janda is a commissioner of Mason County PUD 1)

I am writing on my own behalf to your readers in hopes to inform them about a Public Utility District.

In 1930, the voters of Washington state approved Initiative 1, giving them the authority to create their own nonprofit, locally regulated public utility districts to “conserve the water and power resources of the state of Washington for the benefit of the people thereof, and to supply public utility services, including water and electricity for all uses.”

Unlike private utilities, PUDs are run by an elected, nonpartisan board of commissioners who are directly accountable to the voters. Commissioners meet at least monthly in open meetings where members of the public can observe and participate in the decision-making process. PUDs are not-for-profit utilities owned by the community.

Consequently, public utility district rates are generally lower – and service values higher – than investor-owned utilities. PUDs also pay state and local taxes that help pay for schools and other community services; sponsor programs to encourage conservation of power and water; and take part in other outreach programs.

Every public power system is different, reflecting its hometown characteristics and values, but all have a common purpose: providing safe, reliable, not-for-profit utility services at a reasonable price while protecting the environment.

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