In 1936 the Washington State Legislature passed legislation authorizing formation of public utility districts. The debate then centered on local issues of public versus private power until 1939 when the voters approved forming their own public utility district. That action put in motion engineering studies, financing proposals, negotiations, and legal challenges with the existing power company, the Washington Water Power Company (WWP). This process consumed six years until May 11, 1945 when the Okanogan County PUD paid Washington Water Power $2,314,240.33 for the entire system in Okanogan County, including Enloe Dam and a transmission line from Chelan and began operating its own electric system.
In the past 40 years we have provided county residences and businesses with a low-cost, reliable source of electrical energy. Residential rates in 1946 were 1.6 cents per KWH (kilowatt-hour). That cost steadily decreased to a low of 0.94 cents per KWH in 1975. Today’s rates are still some of the lowest in the Northwest, the nation, and the world.
In 2001, we began providing wholesale, cost-based broadband service to retail service providers, who provide their service to the residents and businesses of Okanogan County.
We have constructed an 82 mile fiber optic backbone from the Columbia River at Pateros to the Canadian border north of Oroville. In 2002, we began offering wholesale broadband services on wireless infrastructure.
The District’s service area includes all of Okanogan County (5,315 square miles), which is the largest county in the State of Washington. In addition, two electric co-ops and one municipal system also provide service in the county. We serve approximately 20,500 customers composed mainly of residential, commercial and irrigation accounts. Our electric system consists of approximately 1,373 miles of overhead and 437 miles of underground distribution lines. We also own a 115 kV transmission system, which consists of approximately 104 miles of line and 16 major substations. In addition, we provide wholesale, cost-based broadband service to retail service providers, who provide their service to the residents and businesses of Okanogan County.