Organized in 1936, Douglas County PUD began operations in 1945 as a non-profit, locally owned electric distribution system. From the beginning, delivery of a reliable supply of electric energy at the lowest possible cost has been our guiding principle, but the real reason the PUD was formed was to deliver modern conveniences to all the residents of the county. After acquiring the existing electric distribution system in the county from investor owned utilities, Douglas constructed about 400 miles of additional power lines to extend service to rural parts of the county. The power supply in those days was the Bonneville Power Administration.
In the late 50's and early 60's Douglas worked to license and build the Wells Hydroelectric Project on the Columbia River. In 1967, the first power was generated at this 840 megawatt project. Douglas did not initially use the power from this plant because it was more costly than power from the Bonneville Power Administration. Instead, the output was sold to four investor owned utilities who helped to finance the project by purchasing power at cost.
Nearly all of the power serving Douglas County is generated at the Wells Hydroelectric project. Under the watchful eye of our locally elected commissioners, Wells has become the model for providing clean, efficient reliable and renewable hydroelectric power in the northwest. This project boasts the most effective juvenile fish by-pass on the Columbia River and its operation funds several salmon and steelhead hatcheries. These days, power from Wells costs less than half the price of Bonneville power.
True to the goals of the early days, Douglas provides reliable electric service on par with the most reliable systems in the nation. The price for electricity delivered to your home or business in Douglas County is less than the average nationwide wholesale price of power. The efforts of the staff and Commission at Douglas aim to continue this trend.
The National Energy Policy Act of 1992 marked the beginning of an electric industry restructuring process. The Act sought to improve utilities' access to the nation's high voltage electric transmission system, stimulate power supply competition at the wholesale level and retain responsible planning in a competitive wholesale environment. After several years of regulatory rule-making along with regional and national process, the state's legislators and our federal lawmakers continue to push the industry toward a day when each electricity user may choose who they will buy their electricity from. In this environment your PUD, Douglas PUD, is staying focused on meeting your needs. Our goals are to maintain local control, position the District for relicensing the Wells Hydroelectric Project, maintain competence in evolving energy, communication and conservation technologies and continue to provide Douglas County with reliable electric service at the lowest responsible cost. Just as in 1945, we plan to continue to be your technology utility, regardless of how technology may change.
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