Utilities in Washington

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This map shows the regional jurisdictions of each electric utility in Washington and is color-coded by type of utility.

Utility Oversight & Regulation: Make Your Voice Heard on Issues that Affect You

For-profit investor-owned utilities (IOUs) are regulated by the Washington Utilities and Transportation Commission which invites your public comment on any matter that comes before them. For more information, visit the Washington Utilities & Transportation Commission (UTC). Washington State has three IOUs. They are PSE, Avista and Pacific Power.

The remainder of Washington electric utilities are operated by:

  • Municipalities (Seattle, Tacoma, Ellensburg and others)
  • Public Utility Districts (PUDs)
  • Rural Electric Cooperatives
  • Tribes
  • Federal Government (Hanford)

As public entities, PUDs, Co-ops, Municipal Utilities are each governed by their own elected commissioners and/or City Council. Their meetings are open to the public and public input is encouraged. You can find details about Commissioner meetings on their respective websites (see list below). The governing body for each utility must approve rate increases (increases in the cost of electricity to consumers) as well as solar investment plans and policies related to residential and commercial solar installations.

To find details on each utility’s solar policies for net metering, interconnection, customer generation and whether or not it participates in the voluntary Washington State Production Incentive Program, see this list of WA Utilities (PDF; Updated August 2016). Solar Washington attempts to keep this list up-to-date, but please check directly with the utility to find current information.

Your Utility is a Wealth of Information

  • Energy efficiency rebates
  • Ways to reduce energy consumption to save money
  • Adding electric vehicle charging to your home or business
  • Each utility reports its sources of electricity (ie fuel mix) to its consumers, usually through its website.

NW-Solar-Comm-Logo.pngNorthwest Solar Communities, a collection of organizations throughout the Pacific Northwest, put together a resource on interconnection and net metering with the intention of giving utilities and jurisdictions tools to assist in the streamlining of operations to help reduce the costs of solar adoption. Utility partners prepared a Best Practices Guide (PDF) to highlight efficient metering and interconnection processes.

  • View a webinar entitled "Meeting the Solar Rush" which includes three utilities in Washington as they describe how new systems and processes are making interconnection and customer tracking more manageable.
  • View a webinar entitled "Online Permitting" where you can view how jurisdictions are using online solar permitting to save time and make permitting more consistent.

What is the Source of Washington’s Electricity?

Sources of Washington’s electricity include hydro (dams), coal, natural gas, nuclear, wind, biomass (ag products, landfill gas, municipal solid waste and sludge waste), other gas (blast furnace gas, and other manufactured and waste gas from fossil fuel), petroleum, geothermal, solar and other (chemicals, sulfur, tire derived fuels and misc. (Technologies are listed in order of most to least produced.)

Utilities receive electricity via these public agencies: Energy Northwest, US Bureau of Reclamation, City of Seattle, PUD 1 and 2, TransAlta Centralia and US Army Corp of Engineers as operators.

Bonneville Power Administration is a nonprofit federal power marketing administration. Although BPA is part of the U.S. Department of Energy, it is self-funded. BPA markets wholesale electrical power from 31 federal hydroelectric projects in the Northwest, one nonfederal nuclear plant and several small nonfederal power plants. The dams are operated by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the Bureau of Reclamation. The nonfederal nuclear plant, Columbia Generating Station, is owned and operated by Energy Northwest, a joint operating agency of the state of Washington. BPA provides about 28 percent of the electric power used in the Northwest. BPA also operates and maintains about three-fourths of the high-voltage transmission lines in its service territory of Idaho, Oregon, Washington, western Montana and small parts of eastern Montana, California, Nevada, Utah and Wyoming. BPA also funds regional efforts to protect and rebuild fish and wildlife populations affected by hydropower development in the Columbia River Basin.

Utility Scale Solar Installations in WA

  • White Bluffs – 38.7 KW, jointly operated by Energy Northwest and Bonneville Power Association, built in 2002, 10 miles north of Richland
  • Wild Horse – 50.2 KW, 2723 solar panels, in Kittitas County 16 miles east of Ellensburg, also operates 273 MW of wind turbines and features a visitor center.
  • City of Ellensburg Community Renewable Park – 112 KW of wind + solar

Utility Oversight & Regulation

For profit investor-owned utilities (IOUs) are regulated by the Washington Utilities and Transportation Commission which invites your public comment on any matter that comes before them. For more information, visit the Washington Utilities & Transportation Commission (UTC).

As public entities, PUDs, Co-ops, Municipal Utilities are each governed by their own elected commissioners.


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