Yes to East King County PUD!
Yes to East King County PUD! (EKC PUD) filed their petition this week with King County in order to start the process of changing out the current, foreign owned utility provider, Puget Sound Energy (PSE), and replacing it with a locally owned PUD.
The process involves collecting signatures to place the initiative on November’s ballot for local voters to vote yea or nay on. The official signature gathering start date is Saturday, January 15th. The campaign needs 35,000 verified signatures from voters who live in the proposed PUD service area.
PSE is Washington’s oldest local energy company providing electric and natural gas primarily in the Puget Sound region of the state. According to PSE's own website, PSE's electricity is generated with 66% fossil fuel sources. The EKC PUD campaign reports that PSE's long term plan includes building a new fossil fuel power plant in 2026.
The PUD campaign proposes providing cleaner energy by obtaining power from the Bonneville Power Administration at preferential rates, and exploring local renewable generating options like pumped hydropower and expanded rooftop solar. The campaign is pushing for carbon neutrality at a faster speed to leave less of a carbon footprint in the environment.
Washington state law provides that if the people are dissatisfied with their private PUD they can fire them. Barbra Chevalier, Director of the EKC PUD campaign, maintains that state law and mechanisms already exist that lay out the whole process of how to change the utility company.
Although it hasn’t been done since 2008 when voters in Jefferson County moved away from PSE, changing Northeastern King County’s electrical provider to a PUD can be voted on by the public in November. Commissioners would also be voted in to keep the new locally-owned PUD transparent and accountable to the people.
Chevalier said “our biggest ask is for people to make sure they sign and then tell three people about us.” The campaign will have a downloadable petition for voters to print, sign and return or use an electronic signature option.
“The biggest thing I want people to walk away from an encounter with the campaign is that right now we have so little control over the people and forces who control our utilities, and this is our chance to change that.”
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