Keeping its customers satisfied is priority No. 1 at Public Utility District No. 1 of Snohomish County, Washington (Snohomish County PUD), which distributes electricity to 332,516 commercial, industrial, and residential customers in Washington State. The utility, the largest PUD in the state, with a 2,200 sq. ml. service area, purchases most of its power supply from third parties (Bonneville Power Administration and other producers. It operates hydroelectric and fossil-fueled power plants and participates in wholesale power transactions to balance its supply load. Snohomish County PUD also serves more than 20,000 water utility customers in a 205 sq. ml. service territory, via about 375 miles of pipe.
Snohomish County PUD's operations consist of three systems: the Electric System, the Generation System and the Water System.
The Electric System is made up of electric transmission and distribution system.
The Generation System is composed of the company’s Jackson Hydroelectric Project and two smaller hydroelectric projects.
The Water System is made up of water distribution system.
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The PUD serves three categories of customers: Residential (301,639), Commercial (30,524), Industrial (76) and other (street lighting, temporary lighting, etc. – 277).
The company offers a wide range of energy-efficiency solutions for business customers.
In 2014 the PUD's revenues grew by 3% due to an increase in retail sales as a result of a general and a power contract pass-through rate increase in 2013 and wholesale sales driven by a rise in Megawatt-Hours sold.
The company’s net income decreased by 19% due to an increase in operating expenses, driven by higher volume of power purchases from the wholesale power market and increased operations expenses due to higher transmission and ancillary costs and costs related to the PUD’s effort to implement a new enterprise resource planning system.
In fiscal 2014, the company’s operating cash inflow decreased by 10% due to lower net income and changes in working capital.
To meet federal and state goals for reducing greenhouse gases, the utility is exploring a range of green energy options, conservation measures and new power generation activities, including geothermal, tidal, wind, and solar power.
In 2015 the PUD's solar program increased its total contribution to 3.7 MW, an almost 150% increase over the previous year.
In 2014 the company spent $110 million on electric system capital expenditures, up from $94 million in 2013. The company increased the capital programs over the past two years to maintain, expand and enhance its electric distribution system.
In 2013 solar energy capacity stood at two MW, enough to serve 170 homes. More than 350 PUD customers cover part of their electricity needs through their own solar energy units. The PUD’s Solar Express program offers financial incentives and technical assistance for solar photovoltaic and solar hot water systems.
In 2012 the company amended a power contract with Hampton Lumber (a fuel supplier since 2007) that will boost the level of biomass energy the utility will receive from the lumber company's Darrington plant. The new agreement will allow Snohomish County PUD to receive up to 2.5 MW of energy from Hampton Lumber, enough energy to power about 2,000 homes.
Supported by $15.8 million in matching federal stimulus dollars, in 2011 Snohomish County PUD completed its first major project as part of a long-term upgrade of its electric grid with smart grid technology. The upgrade includes the installation of more than 160 miles of fiber optic cable, and connecting them to 62 substations, two radio sites and other utility buildings.
The company began providing water utility service to parts of Snohomish County in 1946. Public Utility District No. 1 of Snohomish County began operating as power utility in 1949, providing publicly owned electric and water utility service to the residents of Snohomish County and Camano Island.