Public Utility District No. 1 of Whatcom County was formed in 1937 by a vote of the people of Whatcom County.  The PUD has countywide authority to supply electric and water services.  The District is governed by an elected board of three nonpartisan Commissioners who come from different districts in the county.  The Commissioners oversee policy decisions which operate a utility system that provides electric and water service.

The PUD’s General Manager oversees day-to-day operations of the entire PUD. Division directors oversee individual PUD operations.  There are 22 people employed at the PUD.


Provides a variety of office assistance including human resources, District communications and public relations, and public records management.  The Executive Assistant supports the General Manager and is Clerk for the Commission.

The following departments work closely with the General Manager on a wide range of PUD office operations and activities.

  • Finance – The Finance Division manages the District’s financial reporting, accounting, billing, purchasing, rate analysis customer accounts, preparation of the annual operating and capital budgets, and accounting services within the PUD.  Annual revenue/expenditures in 2022 is estimated at just over $22 million.  The Director of Finance oversees an accounting staff of one.
  • Resource Development and Water Resources – The Assistant General Manager manages current and future power contracts, water contracts, renewable energy projects, new resource development and water resource management.  The Contracts and Regulatory Compliance Manager assists in the preparation of water supply and delivery contracts and other agreements concerning water resource issues, efficiency programs and projects and pursues funding opportunities related to management and development of water resources.
  • Administrative Services – The PUD also provides administrative services to other agencies for electric, water and financial needs.

Water Operations
The Director of Utility Operations oversees the daily operations (24 hours/7 days a week) of two water systems.  One chief operator and 6 water operators manage two water intake and treatment plants.

  • The PUD treats and distributes five billion gallons of water a year and is the largest water processor in Whatcom County with an average use of 17 million gallons per day.
  • The PUD operates one water system comprised of two river diversions, two treatment plants and 20 miles of pipeline.  It provides industrial grade water to 10 industrial accounts and 50+ irrigation customers.
  • The PUD operates a second system providing potable water and fire protection for a large industrial park.

Electric Operations
The Director of Utility Operations also oversees the daily electric operations and supervises the electric system supervisor and two substation technicians who also provide electric maintenance on the PUD water plants.

  • The PUD currently supplies one electrical customer and the PUD’s two water intake plants an average of 27 MWh purchased from Bonneville Power Administration (BPA).
  • The PUD owns 13.2 miles of transmission lines and three substations with 2 points of delivery of 115kv and 1 point of delivery of 230kv.
  • The PUD has intertie agreements with Puget Sound Energy (PSE) and BPA.

Engineering, Construction and Project Development
The Director of Utility Operations and a Project Manager provide engineering and technical support to the District.  They oversee and plan projects such as improvements, construction, operations and modifications to the water and electric utility systems and District facilities.  This includes preparing bidding documents/procedures and working with consultants and contractors.  For information about public works and contracting with the PUD click here.

Learn more about Washington State Public Utility Districts and Whatcom County at the Bellingham/Whatcom County Tourism sites.