Every year, the people of Thurston County pay $17 million in profits to Puget Sound Energy, which is owned by Macquarie Gourp Ltd., a giant conglomerate owned by millionaires in Australia. When our money leaves Thurston County, it is gone forever.
In contrast, money spent in our community circulates many times through local businesses and creates local jobs. A good way to support local jobs, local businesses and our local economy would be for the people of Thurston County to own the electrical utility ourselves and keep that $17 million each year working here and serving our community.
The Thurston Public Utility District is studying the feasibility of doing that. Many counties have electric PUDs, and many cities (Seattle, Tacoma, Centralia) also have publicly owned electric utilities. This common-sense solution is good for the local economy. It’s also good for democracy and local control, since voters elect PUD commissioners. In contrast, the owners and executives of PSE/Macquarie live in Australia and are not responsive to the people of Thurston County.
I will vote for the ballot measure to allow the Thurston PUD to continue exploring the practicality of a thoughtful and efficient transition from an absentee-owned utility to one owned and managed by local people. Public power provides more reliable electrical service (better maintenance, fewer and shorter outages), lower rates, and more local jobs.