Hydropower is the cornerstone of a reliable, clean energy future

(This op-ed represents the shared opinion of Grant, Chelan, and Douglas PUD in support of hydropower and the lower four Snake River dams. Originally released 02/01/2024)

Affordable, plentiful energy is the root of a society that enables economic growth. It’s easy to forget our community’s biggest asset even though it affects everything we do. Now more than ever, our customers need to understand hydropower’s role in the rapidly changing energy landscape, and how we’re preparing for the future.

It’s no secret that the public utility districts of Chelan, Douglas and Grant counties provide very low electric rates. Thanks to the vision of local citizens who voted to create public utility districts, and the commissioners elected to represent them, our PUDs brought low-cost public-owned hydropower to our region over 60 years ago. Today, these hydropower projects are the backbone of a clean energy economy that supports local residents and attracts new industries. As a bonus, the dams provide recreational opportunities and beautiful parks that make our communities a desirable place to live.

Good News for Hydropower

Hydropower’s reputation has seen some highs and lows over the last few years in the regional and national spotlight. The good news is that Washington State’s Clean Energy Transformation Act recognizes hydropower as a clean resource that can help meet carbon reduction goals. That’s a change from 20 years ago, when our existing hydropower wasn’t counted as eligible under the state’s renewable energy standard. At the federal level, recent laws providing billions in clean energy incentives treat hydropower more equitably than in the past. These are encouraging signs. Yet most people don’t really understand hydropower’s crucial role in keeping our electric grid reliable and costs affordable as coal and natural gas generators retire.

Bad News for Hydropower

A recent proposal illustrates this problem and highlights the growing disconnect surrounding hydropower’s importance to our everyday lives. In December, the U.S. government filed an agreement in Oregon to resolve an Endangered Species Act lawsuit against federally owned dams on the Columbia and Snake Rivers. Under the agreement, the U.S. government commits to helping tribes build replacement power for the four Lower Snake River Dams. The goal is to bring the region one step closer to breaching them. Dam breaching is deeply concerning for customers served by utilities (including those in Okanogan and Kittitas counties) who purchase power from the Bonneville Power Administration, which markets the hydropower produced by the Lower Snake River Dams. It is also concerning to regional electric grid managers, who understand there are no easy replacements for the consistent carbon-free energy provided by these dams. Unfortunately, utilities were not allowed to provide input into the agreement, and many of the details are still unclear.

Building on the Hydropower Foundation

Talk of dam breaching fails to recognize that we’re entering a time of extreme change for the electric grid. Projected electricity demand is staggering as new industries and public policy shift more energy use to electricity. The Pacific Northwest Utilities Coordinating Council predicts 20 percent electricity growth in the region over the next 5 years. Meanwhile, state, and federal policies increasingly require that electricity be emission-free. This will entail a combination of energy storage, remote renewables, new transmission lines, and more energy innovation. It’s more likely that the region will need both massive

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Navigating Power Outages: Essential Safety Tips from Grant PUD

DJI_0064-2 Safety Tips for Power Outage

Power outages, whether due to extreme weather or routine maintenance, can be challenging. At Grant PUD, we understand the inconvenience and potential risks associated with these situations. This guide is designed to help you navigate power outages safely and effectively.

Immediate Steps During a Power Outage

  1. Report the Outage: If you experience a power outage, report it to Grant PUD immediately by calling 509-766-2505. This helps us track the outage and restore power promptly as possible.
  2. Unplug Electronics: To prevent damage from potential power surges when electricity is restored, unplug your electronic devices, including computers, TVs, and kitchen appliances.
  3. Flip Power Breakers for Major Appliances/Furnace:When your outage occurs, flip breakers on your high power usage items such as furnace, stove, water heater, dryer, etc. *Appliances responsible for heating water and air consume a significant amount of energy and can contribute greatly to the initial surge in demand when power is restored.
  4. Leave porch light on as a signal:Turning on your porch light helps our utility crews to know when the power is back in different areas.
  5. Use Flashlights, Not Candles: For lighting, rely on flashlights or battery-powered lanterns instead of candles to reduce the fire hazard.

Staying Safe and Comfortable

  • Food Safety: Keep refrigerator and freezer doors closed as much as possible to maintain cold temperatures. A full freezer can keep the temperature for about 48 hours.
  • Generators: If you use a generator, ensure it’s operated outdoors and far away from windows to prevent carbon monoxide poisoning.
  • Stay Informed: Keep a battery-powered or hand-crank radio for updates on the outage status.
  • Avoid Electrical Equipment: Stay away from all electrical equipment and cords during an outage.

Preparing for Extended Outages

  • Emergency Kit: Keep an emergency kit ready with essential items like water, non-perishable food, medications, and first aid supplies.
  • Preserving Heat: In colder weather, preserve heat by closing doors to unused rooms and dressing in warm layers.

After the Power Returns

  • Gradual Reconnection: Once power is restored, wait a few minutes before plugging in and turning on major appliances to help prevent any potential electrical system overload.
  • Check for Damage: Inspect electrical appliances for damage or wear that might have occurred during the outage.

Our Commitment to You

At Grant PUD, our crews work tirelessly to restore power as quickly and safely as possible during outages. We appreciate your patience and understanding during these times. Remember, your safety is our top priority. 


Power outages can be unexpected, but being prepared makes all the difference. By following these safety tips, you can protect yourself, your family, and your home.

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3 Ways You Can Help Restore Power Faster During an Outage

Cold Load Pickup Understanding Cold Load pickup and restoring your power faster in Grant County, WA

At Grant PUD, we recognize the importance of keeping our community informed about critical aspects of power management.

Understanding Cold Load Pickup

Cold load pickup occurs when there is a significant increase in electricity demand immediately after power restoration following an outage. If too much electricity is demanded simultaneously, it can strain the power system, leading to delays in restoring power or potentially causing another outage.

How You Can Help

Your proactive steps can greatly influence the stability of our electrical grid. You can contribute by doing these 3 important things:

  1. Flip the Breakers on Major Appliances: When your outage occurs, flip breakers on your high power usage items such as furnace, stove, water heater, dryer, etc. *Appliances responsible for heating water and air consume a significant amount of energy and can contribute greatly to the initial surge in demand when power is restored.
  2. Use Your Porch Light as a Signal: Turning on your porch light helps our utility crews to know when the power is back in different areas.
  3. Wait Before Reconnecting: After power is restored, wait a few minutes before reconnecting your appliances, one at a time. This helps prevent a sudden surge in electrical demand.

The Impact of Your Participation

By reconnecting appliances in a staggered manner once power is restored especially those that consume more energy like heating units, you help distribute the electrical load more evenly. This prevents the risk of overloading the system.

Grant PUD's Commitment

At Grant PUD, we are dedicated to providing reliable and efficient power services. We welcome any questions you might have. Your active participation in managing cold load pickup, particularly by being mindful of high-energy consuming appliances, is crucial. Through these simple yet impactful actions, you contribute to the stability and efficiency of our power system. We thank you for your cooperation and commitment to our community’s well-being.

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