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January 5, 1998

Opinion

Reassurances for PUD customers

  Recent articles in some local newspapers have made it sound like your Snohomish County PUD is planning to abandon its electricity customers in search of new businesses. I want to assure you that couldn't be further from the truth. The PUD has every intention of remaining your electricity supplier and is continuing to work hard to keep your rates low and your power supply reliable.
  
   The confusion has come from our new effort to market our technical expertise to utilities, governmental agencies, developers and other organizations outside our service area. Specifically, we will buy and sell wholesale electricity on the nation's power market, offer consulting on power quality issues, provide a systematic approach to keeping power lines clear of vegetation, build new electric service installations, or design and build utility substations. Our purpose is to gain revenue from these efforts that will be used to keep rates low and continue the funding of public purpose efforts, such as low-income programs.
  
   We're also looking at another effort that would help us to meet customer needs in the future. Our research tells us that as competition comes to the electric utility industry, many customers will expect new products and services from their energy provider. To that end, we're planning to combine efforts with other utilities across the nation so we can offer you those products and services at the lowest possible cost.
  
   Our intent through both of these programs is to strengthen the PUD so that it serves you better and provides you with the choices you want and deserve. Providing the people of Snohomish County and Camano Island with low electricity costs, reliable power, and good customer service always has been, and will always remain, the most important reason for our existence.
   Sincerely,
   Richard E. Johnson, General Manager,
   Snohomish County PUD