City serves notice on PUD that it wants to provide electricity to proposed annexation area

PORT ANGELES — The city of Port Angeles served notice Tuesday on the Clallam County Public Utility District that it intends to provide electric service to the west-side Eclipse Industrial Park, future site of a $23 million hardwood sawmill.

The PUD currently provides electricity to the area and is reluctant to cede the territory to city service.

Glenn Cutler, city public works director, said the city took action based on a 1992 agreement with the PUD that the city could extend utility service to areas it annexes.

The utility controversy has clouded the annexation of the 346 acres south of U.S. Highway 101, extending west of the city limit about 1.5 miles, with the PUD asking the county Boundary Review Board to decide the issue.

The board is scheduled to meet April 7.

City Manager Mike Quinn, in a letter Tuesday to PUD General Manager Dennis Bickford, asked the utility district to make any counterproposals by April 5.

PUD service, city bills

PUD Commissioner Hugh Haffner said Bickford was working on a proposition by which the PUD might provide power to the industrial park with the city billing the customers.

Haffner said the crux of the issue is infrastructure — the substation and transmission lines that the PUD built and some of which the city would buy if it gets its way.

“Our customers all over the county have sort of subsidized service to this area,” he said.

“Our customers have been paying for this.”

When Port Angeles Hardwood LLC’s mill starts production, the electric rates it pays will benefit all PUD customers, Haffner said — in effect a return on their investment.

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