A new era comes in our electricity business with the hiring of Steve Wright to run the Chelan County PUD.
For a dozen years he ran Bonneville Power, the huge federal power marketing operation. Bonneville has had a long list of able administrators over the years, and Wright’s tenure was exceeded only by Dr. Paul Raver, who headed it from 1939 to 1953.
Chelan, Douglas and Grant PUD dams make our three counties unique in having large power producers in small counties, giving us lower cost power than anybody else in the country. They owe their special position to an alert group of citizens of the public power movement in these counties who seized the chance to build dams when the federal agencies backed off in the early 1950’s.
Grant County was first, followed closely by Chelan, then Douglas. It took some doing, such as legislation allowing them to sell power outside their counties. And who were the only buyers of their newly generated power but the private utilities, for the price of that new power was higher than the federal rate available to local public power entities.
We can be proud of the history of these PUD dams, and doggone lucky to be the users of their output.