Response to GTE ads and letters
In response to customer questions
about GTE ads and letters…
- Douglas PUD is updating its electric utility communication system that has been in place since 1967. The replacement uses fiber-optic technology to create a high-speed data network. We are using the network to read meters, control switches, monitor security of the electric system and make it safer. When you are asleep or away from home, this network will allow us to respond to a power interruption at your home before the cold air wakes you up or your pipes freeze. It will be a number of years before the network is readily available throughout Douglas County. Douglas PUD plans to allow any individual or service provider, including GTE, to utilize excess capacity on this network. A 1998 Attorney General Opinion clearly states that PUDs may lease excess capacity to others.
- Douglas PUD has communicated with GTE since the beginning of this system upgrade. In fact, we paid GTE, as a contractor, to install some of our first fiber-optic cable in Bridgeport. We have encouraged GTE to utilize excess capacity on the new system to hold down costs for electricity and telephone customers. GTE has responded by suing Douglas PUD.
- Given GTE’s knowledge of our activities, is it a coincidence that they expanded the local calling area in Douglas County and offered Digital Subscriber Line (DSL) service for faster Internet access in some parts of Wenatchee in 1999? We support GTE investment in central Washington and applaud them for making DSL available in East Wenatchee soon. GTE employees are respected members of our community. We want them to succeed as they address central Washington’s telecommunication needs.
- GTE claims that Douglas PUD does not pay taxes. In 1998, the total was over $2 million. Douglas PUD paid over $212,000 in federal taxes and fees, over $1,712,000 in Washington State taxes and over $175,000 in city taxes. Of the $1.7 million in State payments, about $389,000 goes to schools and $645,000 goes to Douglas, Chelan and Okanogan counties.
- GTE claims that Douglas PUD receives subsidies. Yet, on the same day GTE made those claims and sued Douglas PUD, GTE’s telephone association announced draft legislation that asks for tax exemptions and credits as well as relief from price regulation by the Washington Utilities and Transportation Commission.
- Douglas PUD provides reliable electric service at the lowest price in the United States. Planned rate increases have been deferred the last two years. Use of a modern fiber-optic data network will help us continue this tradition. Locally elected Commissioners who meet in Douglas County every Monday regulate your PUD. The Commission meetings are open to the public.