In 2008, after an Australian financial consortium bought up Puget Sound Energy, Whatcom Countians debated whether it would be a good time to revive the idea of public takeover of the Bellevue-based utility’s assets here.
There was a lot of discussion that eventually died down, and no public vote.
Now, the idea of a public buyout has been revived in Thurston County. In the November election, voters there are being asked to authorize their county’s public utility district to move toward a takeover of PSE assets there.
PSE, of course, is fighting that proposition.
Until I read that take, I had been unaware that Jefferson County is already in the process of taking its PSE power system public, after voters there authorized their PUD to make the move. Here’s a May 2012 report from the Peninsula Daily News.
Today, (Aug. 30) PSE issued a press release announcing that an appraiser had pegged the Thurston County PUD’s acquisition costs at $650 million.
Here’s the case for the public takeover, from the Thurston Public Power Initiative.
PSE is the electric power provider for all of Whatcom County except Blaine and Sumas, where municipal utilities provide the power.