Whatcom PUD has one electric service customer and two water treatment plants that annually consume approximately 27 average megawatts of electricity.

Whatcom PUD currently has a power purchase agreement with Bonneville Power Administration to purchase all the energy needed to serve its electric customers.  Along with a power purchase agreement, the PUD has transmission agreements with BPA and Puget Sound Energy (PSE) where the electric energy purchased from BPA is transported to the PUD’s electric system.

Whatcom PUD owns 13 miles of 115kV transmission lines and three (3) 115kV substations.  Pictures below are of the Refinery Substation.

The PUD purchases energy from Bonneville Power Administration.  It is generated from a variety of resources with hydro-electric power as the number one source:

  • Hydro                        86.00
  • Nuclear                       10.75
  • Market Purchases      3.00
  • Natural Gas                 0.01
  • Total………………….100.00%

The History

In 1952,the PUD gained its first electrical customer when General Petroleum, before it became Mobil Oil Corporation, came to Whatcom County looking for a refinery site. At the time, Puget Sound Power and Light was unable to supply the energy or obtain additional energy in the market. The PUD No. 1 of Whatcom County, through an arrangement with other PUDs in Washington State, was able to obtain the energy which permitted the building of the original refinery at Cherry Point. In the process, the PUD became a functional utility. In later years, the PUD would supply electricity to the Tosco Refinery (now Phillips 66).

Did You Know?

Bonneville Power Administration (BPA) is a not-for-profit federal agency.  40% of all the power used in the Northwest comes from BPA which is more than 80% hydroelectric.  Almost 60% of the region’s electricity comes from hydropower.  Approximately 24% of BPA revenue comes from PUDs in Washington State purchases ($675 million).  Collectively, PUDs are the largest customer of BPA.

Megawhatt Hour (MWh) – One-thousand kilowatt-hours (1,000,000 watts).

Annual Average MW (aMW) – Eight thousand seven hundred sixty megawatt hours (8,760 MWhs or 8,760,000 kWhs.

Kilovolt (kV) – One-thousand volts (1,000). Distribution lines in residential areas usually are 12 kv (12,000 volts).

Substation – A facility with equipment to switch, transform or control electric power.

Other Electric Utility Service Providers in Whatcom County

There are three other electric utilities that provide residential and commercial services depending on location, in Whatcom County:

Puget Sound Energy
Electric Services
(888) 225-5773

City of Blaine
Electric, Water and Sewer Services
(360) 332-8820

City of Sumas
Electric, Water and Sewer Services
(360) 988-5711