Snohomish County Public Utility District

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Snohomish County Public Utility District
Municipal utility
Industry Public Utility
Founded 1949
Headquarters Everett, Washington, USA
Key people
Dave Aldrich
Toni Olson
Kathy Vaughn

General Manager:
Steven Klein
Products Electric utility, Drinking water
Revenue $586 million (2012)
Number of employees
1,025 (2012)

Snohomish County Public Utility District is a public utility providing power to 325,000 customers in Snohomish County and on Camano Island, Washington. It provides water service to over 20,000 customers in the northeast section of the Snohomish County.

The utility is the second largest public utility in the Pacific Northwest and the 12th largest in the United States. It is the largest of 28 PUDs in the state of Washington. The PUD is the largest utility customer of the Bonneville Power Administration, a major wholesale marketer of energy in the Western United States.

The utility is one of the leaders in tidal[1][2] and geothermal[3][4] energy research in the Pacific Northwest, both of which are clean, reliable and plentiful in the region. The utility has received $12 million in federal funding towards its pilot tidal project.[5] Other energy comes from renewable hydroelectric sources, co-generation projects fueled by biogas and biomass and wind energy projects. The utility started offering incentives, loans and other resources for small-scale solar installations in spring 2009.[6]

Snohomish County PUD has developed and led regional conservation programs for more than 25 years. The cumulative savings equal more than 100 average-megawatts, enough to serve about 75,000 homes. The utility has weatherized more than 60,000 homes, recycled more than 33,000 older, energy-wasting refrigerators and freezers, and sold more than 3.8 million compact fluorescent lights at discounted prices through a retail network. In recent years, the utility has beaten its record for conservation.[7]


The Snohomish County Public Utility District is a municipal corporation of the State of Washington, formed by a majority vote of the people on November 3, 1936. It started as a water utility on January 17, 1946. The PUD began operating as an electric utility on September 1, 1949.

In 2005, the PUD uncovered audio tapes revealing that Enron energy traders were intentionally manipulating the market during the Western U.S. energy crisis by encouraging suppliers to shut down plants to perform unnecessary maintenance.[8]

PUD electricity supply[edit]

81% - Bonneville Power Administration
8% - PUD-owned Hydroelectric Projects
7% - Wind Energy Purchases
4% - Landfill Gas, Biomass and other Market Purchases

Bonneville Power Administration provides the bulk of the PUD’s energy. BPA markets wholesale electricity from 31 federal hydroelectric projects in the Columbia River Basin, one non-federal nuclear plant and several other small non-federal plants. BPA, headquartered in Portland, Oregon, is a federal agency under the U.S. Department of Energy.

The PUD purchases wind energy from the White Creek Wind Project in south central Washington, and the Wheat Field Wind Project,[9] and the Hay Canyon Wind Project, both located in north central Oregon, along the Columbia River Gorge. The utility receives about 60 average-megawatts from these facilities.

The Henry M. Jackson Hydroelectric Project, which began operating in 1984, is located in the Sultan River Basin. The hydroelectric generating facility produces about 48 average-megawatts, or about 4 percent of the PUD’s power needs. In addition to generating enough power for 35,800 homes using a clean renewable resource, the project also provides recreation, enhances fish and wildlife habitats, provides an element of flood control and assures an abundance of clean drinking water. The utility has developed several additional small, low-impact hydroelectric facilities for energy generation in its service area.[10][11][12]

The PUD also receives energy from another biomass project at the Hampton Lumber Mill in Darrington, Washington. In addition, the PUD purchases energy from the Klickitat PUD Landfill Gas Project[13] in Eastern Washington. It supplies the PUD with about 2 average-megawatts of electricity – enough to power about 1,500 homes. The project captures methane from decomposing garbage to generate electricity.

The PUD has sold a portion of the environmental attributes from its renewable energy projects to fund the utility's R&D of other renewable energy sources.


  1. ^ “Feds receive Puget Sound tidal power application,” Seattle Post-Intelligencer, Jan. 20, 2010
  2. ^ “Puget Sound Area Leads the Charge to Tidal Energy,” Seattle Post-Intelligencer, Aug. 16, 2007
  3. ^ “Snohomish County PUD to probe for sources of geothermal energy,” Everett Daily Herald, Aug. 16, 2010
  4. ^ “Interest in NW geothermal potential heats up,” Puget Sound Business Journal, Oct. 29, 2010
  5. ^ “Feds award PUD $10 million for tidal power,” Snohomish County Business Journal, Sep. 10, 2010
  6. ^ “Solar Power Projects Heating Up In Northwest,” Q13 Fox News, May 26, 2010
  7. ^ “Snohomish County PUD sets energy record,” King 5 News, Mar. 19, 2010
  8. ^ "Tapes Show Enron Caused Rolling Blackouts in California," New York Times, Feb. 4, 2005
  9. ^ “Horizon Wind Signs PPA with Snohomish PUD,” Renewable Energy World, Aug. 29, 2008
  10. ^ “New hydroelectric dam to be first in county since ’80s,” Everett Daily Herald, May 24, 2010
  11. ^ “Dam coming to Youngs Creek this summer,” Monroe Monitor, Jun. 15, 2010
  12. ^ "PUD on the cutting edge of new electricity," Komo 4 News, Dec. 30, 2010
  13. ^ Klickitat PUD:


1) Bethany Reid, Ph.D. and Thomas M. Gaskin, Ph.D., Everett & Snohomish County – A Community of New Ideas, ISBN 0-9717192-2-5

External links[edit]