1151 Valley Mall Parkway, East Wenatchee, WA 98802

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August 2000 Crazy Power Markets, Douglas County Community Network

August 2000

CRAZY Power Markets

You may recall reports this summer on the television, radio and in the newspapers about incredibly high wholesale electricity “price spikes”, energy shortages and higher power bills in parts of the Pacific Northwest, California and elsewhere nationwide.  This is the result of an effort to deregulate electricity.  According to the Seattle Times, “The political push to deregulate electricity was a British import that got a boost from changes in technology and a slick marketing campaign that promised consumer choice and savings.” 

These events have prompted some elected officials and many others to reconsider their efforts to restructure the electric utility industry. 

Events of this summer prompted us instead to reflect on how fortunate we are in Douglas County to have a customer-owned utility with its own source of power generation, and an ability to make decisions locally with an eye on the values and long-term vitality of our community. 

It is always important to use energy wisely.  It is also important for you to know that your Douglas County PUD has ample supply of  Wells Hydroelectric Project power and other low-cost power acquired through long-term arrangements with other regional suppliers.  Douglas County PUD is well positioned to serve the anticipated power needs of Douglas County for many years to come.

Douglas County Community Network

We have told you about the development of the District’s fiber-optic network in earlier bill inserts. This network was designed to help us operate our electric system. The network stretches from Rock Island, through the East Wenatchee area, up the river to Wells Dam and up on the plateau to Waterville. We continue to grow the network for utility purposes according to our original plan. By the end of the year, fiber-optic cable will stretch from Wells Dam to Bridgeport and from there to Brewster to connect with Okanogan PUD’s system. Douglas County government and the Eastmont School District are making internal communication use of the network under cooperative agreements. 

This spring the Washington State Legislature defined how other people might utilize capacity on this fiber-optic system. The new law says that we can provide wholesale telecommunication service for resale by telecommunication and Internet service providers.

This means that people in Douglas County can begin to take advantage of fiber-optic cable to access transport speeds up to 200 times as fast as a dial-up service. Surrounding counties are beginning to catch up with Douglas County with aggressive construction programs. We continue to develop our network based on needs of the utility system and customer demand.

If you have need for fast, high-capacity data transfers, contact your Internet service provider and ask about the Douglas County Community Network provided by Douglas County PUD, your technology utility.