The forum will focus on the current public power debate between the Thurston Public Utility District, a water utility, and Puget Sound Energy, the largest power utility in the state.
Voters will decide in November whether to approve Proposition 1. If approved, it would give the PUD the authority to pursue public power if the PUD board so chooses.
The Thurston Public Power Initiative, a group that believes power should be locally controlled, collected enough signatures in July to qualify Proposition 1 for November's ballot.
Puget Sound Energy has since released a study saying the total cost of its power infrastructure in the county, plus startup costs for a public-power utility here, could cost $1 billion. The PUD has countered with its own study, saying it is considering three proposals for offering power to specific areas of the county rather than countywide.
Two of those proposals would involve building its own infrastructure, while a third proposal would involve acquiring power infrastructure from PSE. In all three proposals, power would be supplied by the Bonneville Power Administration and at a lower cost, the PUD study says.
The forum speakers are Jim Lazar, Thurston PUD interim commissioner; Andy Wappler, PSE vice president of corporate affairs; John Pearce, chair of the Thurston Public Power Initiative; and Ralph Munro, co-chair of the Alliance to Protect Thurston Power, a group that does not support Proposition 1.
The forum is co-sponsored by the League of Women Voters, Thurston County Progressive Network and The Olympian.