Snohomish County Public Utility District No. 1

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Press Releases

(Current News)

  • Snohomish PUD Issues $40 Million in Bonds for Hydropower Projects

    Favorable Rates & Strong Bond Ratings Benefit Sale

    Everett, WA – Snohomish County PUD this week issued approximately $40 million of tax-exempt bonds to help fund the design and construction of new power generation projects, primarily two new hydroelectric facilities. The utility benefitted from very favorable market conditions to lock in a low borrowing rate for the 30-year bonds.

    Due to the timing of the licensing and other issues, the PUD benefitted from lower interest rates available in the marketplace. A decision by the Federal Reserve not to raise interest rates in mid-September helped the utility achieve better pricing for the transaction.

    In conjunction with the bond issuance, the PUD also secured strong ratings affirmations from Moody’s Investor Service (Aa3), Standard & Poor’s (AA-) and Fitch (AA-). All of the rating agencies gave the utility a stable outlook. Among other things, the agencies cited the PUD’s strong financial management, well-designed resource plan, strong coverage of fixed costs and strong local economy.

    The bonds will provide funding for two new hydroelectric projects on Calligan and Hancock creeks, both located above Snoqualmie Falls near North Bend, Wash. The utility broke ground at one of the sites earlier this month. Construction will continue over the next two years, with the projects expected to go into operation in the 2017-2018 timeframe.

    The two hydropower projects will provide enough power for 10,000 homes at peak output. These renewable energy sources are attractive to the utility in that they’re available locally, emit no noxious gas and their output can be maximized at the times of the year when the energy is needed the most. They are among the lowest priced renewable energy sources. Since both projects will be sited above Snoqualmie Falls – an impassible barrier for migrating fish – issues related to salmon and resident fish will be minimized.

  • Energy Sector Working Group Releases Cybersecurity Guide

    The Energy Sector Cybersecurity Working Group, an ad hoc group composed of public and private sector individuals in Washington state, has released the “Cybersecurity Guide for Critical Infrastructure for the State of Washington.” This group recognizes the need to strengthen the barriers against cyber threats, particularly as they pertain to the protection and safety of our critical infrastructure, and has acknowledged that many infrastructure owners and operators have limited resources and expertise to strengthen their cyber security protections.

    The cybersecurity guide was developed to position and strengthen Washington state as a center of cyber excellence and is the direct result of several regional meetings on cybersecurity – including two major Cyber Security Summits that were sponsored by Snohomish Public Utility District (Snohomish PUD), Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL), and others, over the past two years. These Cyber Summits have included participation from leaders in the White House, Executive Branch agencies, state agencies, and regional cyber thought leaders from around the region to discuss and address cyber policy and how critical infrastructure entities can, and should, position themselves to defend against cyberattacks.

    The “Cybersecurity Guide for Critical Infrastructure for the State of Washington” provides guidelines, best cyber practices, and tools that can be referenced and used by the IT departments, and the senior leadership, of critical infrastructure entities throughout the state.

    “It's critical that we work together to protect our critical infrastructure from cyberattack,” said Governor Jay Inslee. “I want to thank the leaders and cybersecurity experts who contributed to this Cybersecurity Guide.”

    “As cyberattacks become increasingly sophisticated, we must be prepared to protect our state's economic and security interests accordingly,” Senator Patty Murray said. “I'm pleased to see leadership take shape on this issue, and I applaud the preventive steps being taken to keep Washington state families and businesses safe.”

    “It is critical we address the persistent and ever-evolving threat of cyberattacks,” said Senator Maria Cantwell, ranking member of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee. “In 2013, 56 percent of cyber incidents were directed at critical energy infrastructure. Washington is leading the nation in cyber preparedness; the guide by the Energy Sector Cybersecurity Working Group is an important component of a cyber strategy, and others should take note.”

    This collaborative group and effort was composed of staff from the Washington State Utilities and Transportation Commission (WUTC), the Washington State National Guard, Washington State Emergency Management Division, State of Washington Office of the Chief Information Officer, the PNNL, Snohomish County PUD, and Bridge Partners. The guide can be found here.

  • Snohomish PUD Moves to Appoint Craig Collar as CEO/General Manager

    The Snohomish County Public Utility District Board of Commissioners today introduced a resolution to name Craig Collar as its new Chief Executive Officer/General Manager. The appointment requires final approval at the board’s meeting on August 25, 2015, with an effective starting date of September 1. Collar has served as Assistant General Manager of Power, Rates and Transmission Management since fall 2012. He joined the utility in 2006. Collar replaces Steve Klein, who retired this spring.

    “In naming Craig Collar to lead the PUD as general manager, we’re affirming our continued commitment to conservation, financial prudence, renewable resources, customer service and ongoing improvements to system reliability,” PUD Board of Commissioners President Kathleen Vaughn said. “We’re extremely pleased to have selected a candidate with such a broad background in the electric utility industry.”

    Collar has played an instrumental role in securing tens of millions of dollars in grants and forging numerous partnerships with universities and research organizations as the PUD has studied and developed new renewable energy resources in the Pacific Northwest. His areas of responsibilities have included power scheduling, short-term and long-term resource planning, resource development, power and transmission contracts (including negotiations with the Bonneville Power Administration), rates, energy risk management, load forecasting and a range of federal energy compliance issues.

    “I appreciate the confidence of the Board in selecting me to lead this dynamic organization,” said Collar. “I’ve been a customer of Snohomish PUD for 18 years and have a keen appreciation of the importance of the work we do in serving our customers from the smallest to the largest. It is humbling to be given the opportunity to take on this position.”

    Prior to joining the PUD, Craig was employed at Kimberly-Clark Corporation for 16 years, serving in several positions that included energy and environmental manager, operations manager, operations leader, technical manager and mechanical engineer. He also served in the U.S. Navy as a nuclear submarine officer. He earned his MBA at Colorado State University and a bachelor of science degree in mechanical engineering from Montana State University.

  • PUD Customers’ Solar Energy Generation Tops Five Megawatts

    Solar Shines in Snohomish County

    Solar energy is shining bright among Snohomish County Public Utility District customers. Nearly 800 customers now have solar electric (photovoltaic or “PV”) systems on their roofs for a total generating capacity of 5 megawatts. In the past year, solar energy capacity has increased nearly 70 percent.

    “With the price of solar energy systems dropping to about half of what they were a few years ago, more and customers are installing rooftop systems” said PUD Energy Efficiency Program Manager Leslie Moynihan, who manages the utility’s solar programs.

    The bulk of the small-scale solar energy production comes from customers participating in the PUD’s Solar Express program, which offers financial incentives and technical assistance for solar energy installations on qualifying homes and businesses.

    For the PUD, which serves a growing area, customer-generated solar energy is a wise investment as it reduces the utility’s need to purchase new energy.

    “Our solar installation not only makes us money, it’s helping the environment,” said Ryan Lambert, a PUD customer in Bothell. “The installation was incredibly easy, and we’re loving the benefits.”

    Solar Express Incentives:

    Residential customers can qualify for up to $2,000 for solar systems and commercial customers can qualify for up to $8,000. Most customers can take advantage of federal tax credits and state production incentives as well.

    Solar Express is one of the ways the PUD is promoting clean, locally-generated renewable resources. For more information, including qualifications, call the PUD Energy Hotline at 425-783-1700 or click here.

    PUD customers who can’t or don’t want to install their own solar energy systems can still support solar energy through the utility’s Planet Power program. It uses voluntary customer contributions to fund solar energy projects at local schools, non-profits and public agencies. About 2,000 customers participate in the program.

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