Puget Sound Energy, the capitalist-owned electric and gas utility that serves Thurston County and other parts of Western Washington, was based in Bellevue, Washington until a few years ago when it was sold to a different group of capitalists based in Australia – on the opposite side of the world.
In 2012 local people in Thurston County Now the Thurston County Public Utility District – which is owned by the general public of our own local community – were exploring the feasibility of buying out Puget Sound Energy’s business in Thurston County and operating it with local ownership, local management, and local employees. Instead of sending profits to Aus-tralia, it would support our local economy.
Talk about a “buy local” program!
In the spring of 2012 the Thurston Public Power Initiative conducted a petition drive to let Thurston County’s voters decide whether to proceed to change our local electric utility. While that was underway, we produced a TV interview to inform the public about this effort.
Organizers exceeded their goal of gathering more than 12,000 signatures in Thurston County by July 6, 2012, so the local initiative went onto the county-wide ballot in November. PSE spent an enormous amount of money campaigning against it — with many lies and deceptions — so PSE fooled voters into narrowly defeating this progressive ballot measure.
Public power is common throughout Washington (including cities such as Seattle and Tacoma, and counties such as Mason, Grays Harbor, Cowlitz, Clark, Snohomish and Jefferson). Public power is uniformly cheaper than Puget Sound Energy.
During the Olympia Fellowship of Reconciliation’s May 2012 interview, organizers cited many reasons for changing to public power, including lower costs, keeping revenue in our own community, better maintenance of lines, better recovery from storm damage, and local control and accountability. A great many volunteers worked on this petition drive and the outreach efforts during the summer and fall.
The website still exists. See www.ThurstonPublicPower.org