Below are some of the programs that I am proud to have been a part of:
We have promoted the benefits of electric vehicles long before the first Leaf or Volt hit the roads in Clark County—one of the first was drive by the utility CEO at the time and the first public charger in the county was located in our parking lot more than a decade ago. The utility has also participated in regional and national EV infrastructure planning over this same period and works with utilities, trade organizations and manufacturers and retailers on these ongoing initiatives.
Community Education and Solar
We have been doing demonstration solar projects for years, at the water resource center and our own facilities. But our large community solar project at the Operations Center is a sharing model for harnessing solar energy. It allows a group of participants to build one larger solar array. We power the equivalent of 30 homes with over 700 participants. It generates 319,000 watts. I am very proud of my little piece of this project! We will be planning more.
The Solar Car Challenge
We invest in education through events and partnerships with school districts across Clark County. Hundreds of students from local elementary, middle and high schools participate in the solar car challenge. Held every spring (except during covid lockdowns), students race their own self-built hybrid solar cars, made with kits we provide teachers, testing their knowledge of renewable energy and engineering. This program is funded by voluntary contributions to the PUD’s Green Lights program. You can arrange to contribute to this program a little every month (I am proud of my monthly contribution) to support development of renewable energy and local educational opportunities.
Energy Efficiency and Conservation
We offer a variety of rebates, loans, and incentives for customers making energy-efficient upgrades which include: heat pump programs, ductless heat pumps, weatherization, solar energy programs, smart thermostats, heat pump water heater programs, and new construction programs.
Financial Assistance Programs
We reach out to customers having difficulty paying their energy and water bills. Our Guarantee of Service Plan (GOSP) is a 12-month program which reduces electricity payments to a percentage of monthly household income. We administer the federal LIHEAP program to help qualifying customers with their home heating costs. Our Operation Warm Heart provides grants to customers with electric heat who are in financial crisis and may not qualify for other forms of energy assistance. It is financed by donations from our customers and other activities such as our popular “Race for Warmth” event. Senior Citizen Rate Credit programs offer a credit for customers over the age of 62 who qualify. During covid, we provided state and federal funds to our struggling customers, even remotely. Our customer care department is staffed with some of the kindest, most talented people anywhere.
Advanced Meter Infrastructure
Our newest program, will provide new smart meters to our customers so that they can manage their energy use and access smart appliances. We are very excited about this new offering.
We actively coordinate volunteers throughout the county restoring stream habitat, cleaning waterways and planting native plants. We are also a major funder of the Columbia Springs hatchery, with its educational field-trips, family programs and trout hatchery. I am proud to serve on its Board of Directors.