John Pearce, chair of the Thurston Public Power Initiative, made the following remarks to the Gateway Rotary of North Thurston on Oct. 10:
A “Yes” vote on Thurston County Proposition 1 is a vote to give Thurston County residents a choice: another option besides the foreign-owned monopoly we have now. It’s simply a vote for alternatives.
Publicly-supplied electricity already works well and serves 55% of Washington State residents with lower rates and more reliable service than we get from PSE. It works well in Mason, Lewis, Grays Harbor, Clark, Clallam, Snohomish, and in 16 other counties. It also works in Tacoma, McCleary, Centralia, and Seattle.
As a volunteer member and Chair of Thurston Public Power Initiative, my goal is to see that Thurston County residents get a choice. When approved, Thurston County Proposition 1 gives us a possible alternative to PSE’s 100+ year electric monopoly. It allows any local government approving body—the County Commission or any of the City Councils—to consider public power on behalf of their constituents.
Do you agree that the #1 responsibility of any government body is to work in the public interest? Then vote “Yes” for Proposition 1 and make sure your government has the ability to choose what is best for you.
Upon approval, Thurston County Proposition 1 authorizes the Public Utility District (PUD) to provide electric service to Thurston County, but does not obligate them. They will then research and complete a feasibility study to determine where and when public power might benefit the people of Thurston County.
Local government representatives (City Councils, County Commissioners) will then choose the option best suited to serve their constituents and negotiate with the chosen provider and reach an agreement on a franchise (permission and rights) to provide electricity.
This will be paid for with revenue bonds which are backed by the electric revenues to be collected. There is no additional debt to the residents. Your current electric bill includes payment for PSE debt, so it would be like switching from renting to buying the system, because public power systems are owned by the residents.
There are many places for residents to weigh in along this path, both at the public PUD meetings and at your local government’s public meetings. We of the Thurston Public Power Initiative will be there with you, supporting what is best for Thurston County—even if it means waiting on public power.
Voting “Yes” on Thurston County Proposition 1 is the only way you will ever have a choice of who supplies your electricity. It starts the process of self-determination and gives us the option to get out from under PSE’s monopoly.
Isn’t it better to have a choice?
(transcript differs slightly)