Clallam PUD candidates cite costs as top priority

Three hopefuls line up for six-year board position

PORT ANGELES — Candidates running for the District 3 seat on the Clallam County Public Utility District board said keeping utility costs affordable is their No. 1 priority, if elected.

Phyllis Bernard, recently appointed to the position, and challengers Kenneth Reandeau and Ken Simpson all cited costs for customers on Tuesday as their main priority in running for office.

The comments were made during the first political forum of the season for the Port Angeles Business Association, which will host candidates on June 18 for Washington’s 6th Congressional District at Joshua’s Restaurant.

The primary election is Aug. 8, and the top two vote-getters will move on to the general election in November.

“My vision for the PUD — a highly rated organization with a very competent staff — is a continuance of efforts to provide safe, reliable and affordable services for its customers,” Reandeau said.

PUDs provide water, electric and in some cases broadband internet services throughout the county and are managed by a three-member board of commissioners elected to direct the organization.

Candidates are running for a six-year term in District 3, which covers the county from east Port Angeles to the West End, excluding the city of Port Angeles, which has its own electric and water utility.

Bernard was unanimously appointed to the PUD board in April following the death of commissioner Jim Waddell. Reandeau and Simpson were both candidates for the position.

A former board member at Southwest Power Pool Inc. (SPP) of Little Rock, Ark., a nonprofit regional transmission organization, Bernard also has served as a commissioner at large for Olympic Medical Center since July 2023.

The Bonneville Power Administration, the federal agency from which local PUDs purchase their electricity, is contemplating joining SPP’s energy market, and Bernard said her 16 years as a board member with the organization left her well-positioned to help navigate the transition.

“I helped create it, I helped oversee it,” Bernard said of SPP’s energy market. “I helped make sure that JP Morgan and the other traders did not take advantage of people, to make sure that they weren’t managing the market for their benefit instead of for the benefit of others.”

Reandeau, a former utility worker at Crown Zellerbach, now McKinley paper mill in Port Angeles, said he’s regularly attended PUD commissioner meetings for years and was inspired to run by Waddell. A Port Angeles native, Reandeau retired from the mill in 2006 and has lived in the county since 1980.

“As long-term customers, we’ve seen the rates increase by multiples over our history,” Reandeau said. “There’s old equipment that needs to be replaced; that equipment is harder to get, it’s more expensive and services have been more expensive.”

Simpson, the third-generation owner of Angeles Electric, said his company regularly works with the city of Port Angeles and the county on electrical issues.

“I buy into what the PUD’s doing, what the job title is is to provide our community, our ratepayers, with reliable, economical power, and we’ve got to do that,” Simpson said. “We just got to get our rates as low as we can get them, and we’re in the process of negotiations right now, and it’s important that we make some good decisions.”

Simpson’s father, Ted Simpson, was PUD commissioner for District 3 from 1985-2018.

Candidates were asked about how the utility could keep costs down, the transition to green energy in addition to water management as the county’s population grows.

According to the Washington Public Disclosure Commission, Bernard has raised the most funds for her campaign with a total of $3,873 raised and $1,933 spent. The PDC shows no campaign finance information for Reandeau or Simpson.

Additional candidate information and voter registration is available at


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