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Tillamook People's Utility District (PUD) is a customer-owned electric
distribution utility providing electric service in Tillamook County and
parts of Clatsop and Yamhill Counties in Oregon.
Currently we serve about 20,000 customers in an area of 1,125 square
The Tillamook People's Utility District is a municipal corporation,
authorized by Section 12, Article XI of the Constitution of the State of
Oregon and Chapter 261, Oregon Revised Statutes.
In the early 1930s, few Oregon residents had access to electricity,
and many electric companies weren't interested in building facilities to
serve rural customers. The people of the State of Oregon passed a
constitutional amendment authorizing the formation of People's Utility
Districts (PUDs) to give residents local control over the provision of
electricity and other essential utility services.
Tillamook PUD was the first PUD established in Oregon, when
Tillamook County voters approved the District on July 23, 1933.
However, Tillamook PUD engaged in no activities until 1937, when a power
purchase request was made to the newly formed Bonneville Power
On May 15, 1940, a contract between Tillamook PUD and BPA was executed
as the District negotiated to purchase the properties of neighboring
Mountain States Power Company. Having obtained voter approval for
$750,000 in revenue bonds, the PUD reached tentative agreement with
Mountain States Power Company to purchase its properties.
However, board disagreements, preemptive competition from Mountain
States, and trouble getting materials and financing, especially during
World War II, delayed hookup of the PUD's first customers until October
By mid-1949, Tillamook PUD was providing service to 60 percent of the
residences within Tillamook, Bay City, Garibaldi and Rockaway Beach. By
the close of 1952, Tillamook PUD had 3,206 customers.
In 1954, Mountain States Power Company merged with Pacific Power and
Light Company (PP&L). Durwood Hill became general manager in 1956,
and quickly reopened negotiations with Pacific Power & Light.
Voters approved new bonds in 1958 to finance system improvements. The
bonds were sold and the deal closed May 22, 1961. The final price:
$3,918,285. Tillamook PUD has been the sole supplier of electricity to
virtually all of Tillamook County since that time.
With Durwood Hill's departure in the fall of 1961, Jack Madison
became General Manager, a position he would hold until his retirement in
1986. His challenge: to combine the two systems, mostly by hooking up
the former PP&L customers onto the PUD's system without raising
rates. Electricity also reached some of the county's remote farms for
the first time.
During the 1970's the PUD concentrated on building and planning for
future growth. The number of customers and electricity sales increased
rapidly in the 1970's, but not as fast as interest rates and wholesale
power costs. Prolonged drought emptied reservoirs and limited power
supplies. BPA informed its customers, including Tillamook PUD, that it
couldn't promise to meet new electric loads beyond 1983. The District
began promoting electricity conservation, looked into alternative energy
sources and signed up to participate in the Washington Public Power
Supply System nuclear plants. The PUD built a new office at the south
end of Tillamook in 1975.
During the 1980's, the PUD coped with a deep recession, survived
an arson fire that destroyed its office building, upgraded facilities to
handle growth and improve reliability, and found creative ways to hold
rates and customers' power bills down. The PUD expanded its
The challenges of nature and social change kept the District
busy during the 1990's. Aggressive tree-trimming, pole change-outs,
fuse coordination, additional regulators and high-quality equipment have
helped limit storm-related outages. Even so, the decade's memorable
storms and floods kept everyone busy.
The PUD established flexible revolving loan funds for energy
efficient lighting, motors, heat pumps and appliances. The PUD also
entered the open energy market, buying and selling power with
computerized tracking on a daily basis. The District's power supply
portfolio was diversified. It not only included BPA firm power, but
also short-term market purchases from other power suppliers.
The District entered into the new millennium faced with decisions
to make on new BPA power supply contracts as the old expired. New
conservation agreements with BPA were also implemented. The District
continued its system maintenance programs to increase reliability. The
Tillamook area voltage conversion project was completed and the Wilson
River Substation was constructed and energized.
The PUD had its first retail rate increase in ten years in
mid-2011. New BPA power supply agreements were put into place that
would begin in October 2011. The new contracts significantly changed
the way in which BPA charged for wholesale power and also placed a limit
on how much power the PUD (and other BPA customers) could purchase at