Snohomish County PUD Commissioner District 1 candidates (from left) Sid Logan, Mary Rollins, Sam Buchanan and Bruce King.

Snohomish County PUD Commissioner District 1 candidates (from left) Sid Logan, Mary Rollins, Sam Buchanan and Bruce King.

3 challengers hope to unseat appointed PUD commissioner

The utility serves more than 348,000 electric customers in Snohomish County and on Camano Island.

EVERETT — Three challengers are vying to complete the final two years of a six-year term on the Snohomish County Public Utility District board. The commissioner District 1 seat is now occupied by Sid Logan, of Arlington, who was appointed to the post in March 2017.

The commission appointed Logan — one of 25 candidates — to fill the vacancy after Commissioner Dave Aldrich resigned because of ill-health in January 2017. Aldrich, who died later that month, was two years into his third term.

Three nonpartisan commissioners oversee the Snohomish County PUD, the second largest publicly owned utility in the state. The commission sets utility rates, directs policy and hires a general manager.

The PUD serves more than 348,000 electric customers in Snohomish County and on Camano Island. It also provides water to more than 20,000 customers through supplies purchased from the city of Everett. Hydropower makes up about 87 percent of the county’s power supply, most of which comes from the Bonneville Power Administration.

District 1 covers the northern half of the county, including Everett, Marysville, Arlington, Granite Falls, Darrington as well as Camano Island in Island County. Logan’s appointment runs through the end of this year. The seat will be on the ballot again in 2020, resuming its regular, six-year election cycle.

Logan, a retired Arlington School District executive and former petroleum engineer, said he’s hit the ground running since his appointment. His top priority has been, and will continue to be, ensuring “that the PUD provides the most efficient use” of ratepayer dollars.

Logan pledges to work to maintain stable electric and water rates, and to support PUD programs that help consumers pay their utility bills, particularly low-income families and seniors. Logan also supports the introduction of PUD smartphone applications that would provide customers with a convenient way to monitor their power usage and costs, adjust services and pay their bills.

If elected, Mary Rollins, a social service provider and former business owner, said she would try to maximize the use of renewable resources, preserve the environment and advocate for needy customers. In her work for a local nonprofit, Rollins said she’s dismayed by the number of ratepayers forced to choose between putting food on the table, personal medical care or paying their PUD bill.

The PUD isn’t responding as it should to needy consumers with medical equipment requirements, she said. Rollins cited an example in which a ratepayer, whose power had been shut off, was forced to go to a neighbor’s home to plug in her CPAP machine, a medical device used to treat breathing disorders.

Sam Buchanan, a state social services training specialist with finance experience, said he would use his fiscal knowledge to ensure that “all PUD business is done through a lens of — ‘How is this going to affect consumers?’” He said he would “review all current PUD expenditures with an eye on reducing wasteful spending” and advocate for clean and renewable energy. Also a top priority would be ensuring the PUD does a better job of helping ratepayers on fixed incomes, Buchanan said.

Bruce King, an entrepreneur and former software engineer, said it’s time to increase the PUD’s transparency. “I don’t think this particular board is responsive to the community,” he said. An Arlington farmer, King has endured repeated power outages. The PUD needs to do a better job of providing rural residents with reliable service, and encourage internet providers to extend high-speed service to outlying areas, King said.

In addition, he advocates keeping the PUD’s spending local. “PUD customers will be best served if the PUD’s budget is spent locally, either in Snohomish County or Washington state.”

Janice Podsada: jpodsada@heraldnet.com; 425-339-3097; Twitter: @JanicePods.

The Snohomish County Public Utility District has two commissioner races on the primary ballot: District No. 1, a two-year position, and District No. 2, a regular six-year term. The Commissioner District 2 race is scheduled to be profiled in a story next week.

Talk to us

More in Local News

Snohomish Historical Preservation Commission member Fred Cruger with his dog, Duffy, in Arlington along one of the history walk sections at Centennial Trail. The event will be up through September. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Discover local history as you walk the Centennial Trail

Take a smartphone quiz as you stroll the trail. If you answer every question correctly, you’ll win a prize.

Yes, you could get the flu and COVID-19, so get a flu shot

Flu season officially starts Oct. 1, but shots are available now. Experts recommend not waiting.

Economic Alliance and Lynnwood offer new business grants

The grants are derived from the federal Coronavirus Assistance, Recovery and Economic Security (CARES) Act.

Whidbey school fundraisers say they were stiffed on proceeds

The foundation says it raised $7,000 but hasn’t received the money from Brown Paper Tickets.

Way to go

Two awarded horticultural scholarship; Camano racer wins big

Possible rare ‘seven-armed octopus’ found on Whidbey beach

Scientists from across the nation believe it’s most likely a specimen of Haliphron atlanticus.

Don’t miss out on up to $1,800 in unemployment back pay

The state says its ready to send out payments from a federal program. Certification is due Sunday.

Running for a dream, Tulalip man helping people with autism

Tyler Fryberg and his former teacher finish 1,000-mile challenge to support Leah’s Dream nonprofit.

Everett to consider allowing three more pot shops in city

After months of economic, planning and public safety review, the city council could vote next month.

Most Read