What's a PUD?

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Public utility districts are community-owned, locally regulated utilities that are formed by a vote of the people. Unlike private utilities, public utility districts are run by an elected, nonpartisan board of commissioners who are directly accountable to the voters.

Your Community-Owned Utility

A public utility district's first and only purpose is to provide efficient, reliable service to their local customers at the lowest possible cost.

Washington is a public power state with 28 PUDs operating in 27 counties. PUDs serve nearly one-third of all state residents.

  • 24 provide electricity
  • 18 provide water and/or sewer services
  • 15 provide access to broadband telecommunications services

In addition, there are 20 municipal utilities and 15 electric cooperatives or mutuals. Washington has just three private power utilities.

Grange"Where a community ... is not satisfied with the service rendered or the rates charged by the private utility, it has the undeniable basic right, as one of its functions of government, one of its functions of home rule, to set up, after fair referendum to its voters has been had, its own governmentally owned and operated service."

—Franklin D. Roosevelt
Portland, Oregon 1932

In 1930, the Washington voters approved Initiative No. 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 service, including water and electricity for all uses."

Local Commitment

Each PUD has:

  • A board of elected commissioners who set policy for their PUD.
  • A professional manager and staff who operate the PUD per the policies set by the commissioners.
  • Open meetings, where members of the public can observe and participate in decisions made by the PUD Board of Commissioners.
  • Utility rates based on the cost of service. Because PUDs are nonprofit utilities owned by the public, not by stockholders, they are in business solely to provide service, not to make a profit.
  • A commitment to conserving electricity and water.
  • PUDs offer programs to help customers use energy and water efficiently. They support policies that promote resource conservation.

Related Skagit PUD Information