PUD candidates Kelly, Simpson talk water, power issues

By Paul Gottlieb
Peninsula Daily News

SEQUIM — Incumbent Ted Simpson and challenger Cindy Kelly described different challenges each would face if elected to a Clallam County Public Utility District 3 commissioner position in the Nov. 6 general election, they said at a 30-minute forum last month.

Ballots will be mailed to voters in 15 days.

“Water is going to be a big issue,” Kelly, 55, said at the Concerned Citizens of Clallam County forum Sept. 24 at the Sequim unit of the Boys & Girls Clubs of the Olympic Peninsula.

Kelly added that sewage issues facing Carlsborg will be another challenge for the PUD.

The PUD will own and operate a $15.6 million wastewater treatment and water reuse system for the more than 800 residents of the Carlsborg community once the county builds it.

Kelly, who lives in Port Angeles, is the manager of the Dry Creek Water Association and also is on the Port Angeles School Board.

If elected, she would be the first woman commissioner on the PUD board, Simpson said.

Simpson, 69, a Port Angeles-area resident elected to the PUD in 1985, is semi-retired and owns Angeles Electric in Port Angeles.

“Water is going to be a problem, but power will be an even bigger problem,” Simpson said.

Under voter-approved Initiative 947, which took effect in December 2006, utilities must use renewable energy for 9 percent of retail electric loads by Jan. 1, 2016 and at least 15 percent of loads by Jan. 1, 2020.

Hydroelectric power is not considered renewable energy.

“It’s painted with the same brush as coal,” said Simpson, who has repeatedly raised the issue at speaking events during the election season.

Commissioners adopted a resolution Aug. 27 to endorse an effort by the Tri-City Regional Chamber of Commerce to amend the Washington Energy Independence Act, the result of the 2006 vote.

The PUD primarily uses base-rate Tier I energy but has approved the purchase of more expensive Tier II electricity to meet the growing needs of its customers in 2013.

Those needs aren’t increasing as quickly as anticipated because of effective energy-conservation programs and because there is less power consumption in a poor economy, the PUD has said.

Kelly said she would not have waited six years to focus on the issue.

“I know all the legislators,” she said.

“When things affect the situation in my community, I am going to people in those [positions] and talking to them,” she said.

The two candidates disagreed on term limits.

The term for the nonpartisan District 3 position is six years.

“There are term limits,” Simpson, a Port Angeles native, said, adding that voters can limit an incumbent’s term at every election.

Kelly, a Port Angeles resident for 35 years, said term limits work fine for the Port Angeles City Council, calling the restriction “healthy.”

PUD commissioners are paid a salary of $1,800 month and receive $90 a day for each day they are at a PUD-related meetings or performing duties on behalf of the district.

They and their families also can receive the same health insurance as PUD employees.

The forum Sept. 24 included an hourlong debate between incumbent Clallam County Commissioner Mike Chapman, 48, an independent from Port Angeles, and challenger Maggie Roth, 58, the retired operations manager for the Northwest Duty Free Store, also of Port Angeles.

Senior Staff Writer Paul Gottlieb can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 5060, or at paul.gottlieb@peninsuladailynews.com.

Last modified: October 01. 2012 6:07PM
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