New grid technologies - Mason County PUD No. 1 & 3 ratepayers invited to participate in demonstration project.

Homes on the Olympic Peninsula will be part of a unique demonstration project called Power Shift during the next year to determine how new technologies can help make the Pacific Northwest energy grid more efficient and reliable. Over 2,000 energy customers on the Olympic Peninsula have already signed up for the program, with room for 500 more from Mason County.

Mason County Public Utility Districts No. 1 and 3 and Clallam County PUD are participating in the pilot project that will allow them to cycle power on and off to water heaters, heating and cooling during certain times of the day.

“Technologies used in this program could potentially help delay or eliminate the need to build additional transmission lines to serve the area’s growing demand—simply by using the system more wisely,” said Mike Weedall, Vice President for Energy Efficiency at the Bonneville Power Administration. “The participating PUDs are thinking ahead when it comes to these new technologies. They are exploring ways to better serve their consumers and keep costs down in the future.”

The program, being sponsored by the Bonneville Power Administration, is intended to evaluate how shaving peak demand for electricity may be used in a portfolio of options to reduce pressure on the transmission system and power generation for the Olympic Peninsula. This program uses one-way pager-based systems that allow utilities to communicate with water heaters and heating/cooling systems to cycle their power use, thereby reducing the amount of electricity used during certain hours of the day. The system is designed to be used only when the transmission grid is most stressed, which is estimated to be less than 100 hours a year.

This is purely a voluntary program for owner/ratepayers, and in all cases, participating consumers will be able to opt out of a control event (when the water heaters and cooling/heating devices are controlled) to ensure they are not unduly inconvenienced by their participation.

Representative Norm Dicks has a home in the Belfair area of north Mason County. He has voiced his support for the funding that the U.S. Department of Energy receives for projects like these. Dicks said he was proud to see his Congressional district participating in this demonstration project. “My constituents are helping pave the way to a smarter, more reliable and more modern energy grid,” he said. “It’s exciting to think technologies first tested on the Olympic Peninsula may one day have a profound effect on the nation’s energy system.”

“Mason County PUD No. 3 has a long history of involving its owner/ratepayers in local conservation programs,” said Jay Himlie, PUD 3 power supply manager. “I’m pleased that we can involve them in a program that may provide benefits for a larger region. We’re looking for ways to limit the growth in demand that will help defer costly investments in transmission and generation to serve the Olympic Peninsula’s electricity needs.”

"By offering cost effective energy service programs to its customers since the early 1980's Mason County PUD 1 has contributed greatly to the region's conservation efforts," said Dick Wilson, Manager. "We are a small utility that takes pride in the excellent customer service we provide."

Those interested in participating in these demonstrations can learn more at or by calling toll-free, 1-800-742-1448.

The Bonneville Power Administration ( is a federal agency, under the U.S. Department of Energy, that markets wholesale electrical power and operates and markets transmission services in the Pacific Northwest.


© 2016 Mason County Public Utility District No. 3