By Charlie Bermant
Peninsula Daily News
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“This is a very fitting honor,” said Roberts' widow, Carol Anne Modena, after commissioners made the decision at the PUD offices in Port Hadlock on Tuesday.
“Dana was a passionate supporter of the public control of power and set the groundwork for this,” she said.
Roberts died at age 74 in 2009, a year after East Jefferson County voters gave the PUD, which already provided water and sewer, the authority to go into the electrical power business.
It was before the PUD commissioners in 2010 decided to buy the Puget Sound Energy infrastructure for $103 million, a cost that has swelled by about $5 million because of improvements PSE has made to the system.
Paperwork for the purchase was signed last Friday, and at 12:01 a.m. Monday, the PUD took over operation of the electric utility in East Jefferson County from PSE, which had operated in Jefferson County for about a century.
Roberts, his widow said, “would have been so proud about how the commissioners and the staff of the PUD have moved forward to accomplish this.”
“It's important because we have the probability of local jobs and the probability of low rates, and this is important for Jefferson County,” Modena said.
PUD Commissioner Wayne King introduced the resolution to name the substation at 414 Kearney St. after his friend and fellow commissioner.
The actual naming ceremony could be a few months off since a logo must be redesigned prior to a commemorative sign's installation, said Barney Burke, PUD commission president.
“We determined what needed to be done right away, and the logo wasn't one of those things,” Burke said.
“Now that the power is on, we can turn our attention to this.”
On Tuesday, the commissioners approved a proposal calling for logo designs that will be used to represent the PUD.
A maximum of $1,000 would be offered for the design, Burke said.
King said he expected that the new logo will expand on the current “yin and yang” design but will not be too complicated.
“I've seen a lot of logos for PUDs around the state, and they have all kinds of things like farmers and tractors that don't really belong on a logo.”
Burke said the dedication ceremony probably would take place after a proposed event that will include Bonneville Power Administration personnel.
“We'd like to get BPA administrator Bill Drummond up here to thank him because he was instrumental in getting this to happen,” Burke said.
“We hope this will happen sometime in May.”
Burke said BPA's supplying of “Tier One” power at a reduced rate was instrumental in putting together the deal and that doing so before the infrastructure was acquired and the loan secured made the transition possible.
The PUD is receiving a
$115.7 million loan from the U.S. Department of Agriculture with an interest rate of 2.728 percent, locked in for 28 years.
Commissioners also approved a process in which customers can donate in their bill payments to Olympic Community Action Programs.
“If every one of our 18,000 customers contributed a dollar a month, it would be a great help to the county,” King said.
“PSE was able to make direct contributions because it was a private company accountable to its stockholders,” King added.
“We aren't allowed to do that, but this is one way we can benefit the locals.”
King has said at least 18 people have been hired for the electrical service and that rates could go down.
Both he and Burke said no rate changes are likely for some time.
For more information or for billing questions, phone 360-385-5800 or visit www.jeffpud.org/index.htm.
Jefferson County Editor Charlie Bermant can be reached at 360-385-2335 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.