Thurston Public Power Initiative

The campaign lost because they were outspent 20-1 at least.

Thanks Thurston County,
We Appreciate Your Support! — a message from our Executive Board:


Our deepest gratitude and thanks go out to our hundreds of hard-working volunteers, our supporters, and all those who voted ‘Yes’ on Thurston County Proposition One. You ARE this campaign and none of us on the Executive Board could ever thank you enough for your dedication, your hard work, your belief in what is possible, and your willingness to BE the change.

For those who contributed your hard-earned dollars; who made in-kind donations of printing, office space, and other essentials; who purchased t-shirts and buttons; we are very grateful. As you well know, every penny counted in this election.

Our endorsements from Karen Valenzuela, Bob Jacobs, Thurston County Conservation Voters, the Olympia Food Co-op, WFSE Local 443, SEIU 1199, the Thurston County Democrats, and hundreds of individual citizens bolstered our confidence and moved us forward.

Special thanks go to the core team of super-volunteers, for their commitment to this campaign, for the untold number of meetings, hundreds of hours collecting signatures and knocking on doors, continuous email communications, and a level of dedication rarely seen.

Some may see this election as the end. We of Thurston Public Power Initiative know that it is only the end of the beginning. Public Power will be a reality in Thurston County. We have been at PSE’s mercy for so long that too many people think it has to be that way.

Our duty from this day forward is to ensure that the people know the truth—that Public Power means, as the signage on a Cowlitz County PUD truck says, “Customer-owned for Customer Benefit.” Public power means local jobs, reliable service, lower rates, and true accountability.

Vote for public power is a vote for Thurston County families. Lower rates, better reliability, jobs, service, infrastructure, and stewardship.

Finally, we’d like to thank all who voted. Your participation is what keeps “We the People” moving forward, despite repeated attempts to buy or steal our elections.

We won back in July when we qualified for the ballot with so many signatures that the last 2,000 went unexamined!

We won November 6th, when we proved that a grassroots movement with little experience and less money can mount a credible campaign, even in the face of vast and unprecedented corporate spending to influence the outcome!

And we will win again, and decisively, in the not-too-distant future. We will organize. We will educate. We will network. We will grow a citizens’ movement like Thurston County has never seen. And we will win the hearts and minds and votes of the people of Thurston County.

Power to the Public!

Thurston Public Power Initiative Executive Board
John Pearce, chair
Guy Hoyle-Dodson, vice-chair
Joanne McCaughan, treasurer
Doug Riddels, secretary
Tom Nogler, member-at-large

Nov. 15, 2012


Rotary speech: Isn’t It Better To Have a Choice? – speech by John Pearce, Oct. 10.

Public Power, Then and Now: Radio interview with Tom Casey, a five-term Grays Harbor PUD Commissioner. (audio)
Opening Remarks by John Pearce at Public Power Forum (7’37″)

Public power means:
• Lower electric rates
• More reliable service
• Good jobs for local workers
• Millions of dollars of utility revenue reinvested locally, rather than leaving as profit for a foreign-owned corporation
• Citizen control of local energy policy

Currently, our electricity is being supplied by Puget Sound Energy (PSE) a for-profit energy corporation, owned by the Australian investment firm Macquarie Group. PSE’s rates are the highest in the state of Washington — much more expensive than the surrounding counties who are getting their energy from PUDs.  The service is terrible, and these high rates are simply being shipped out of the country as profits for PSE, straight into the bank accounts of Australian investors.

Public Power in Thurston County will change this. Instead of using the electrical system as a means to extract wealth from ratepayers, the public utility district would be working to maintain a high-quality system to serve the community.

Puget Sound Energy has the highest electrical rates in the state of Washington. We can do it better, at a much lower cost.

Puget Sound Energy has spent hundreds of thousands of dollars in PR money to try to crush our grassroots campaign. They have way more cash than we do (thanks to the obscenely high energy bills they’ve been sending us for years). All we have is the power of truth, volunteer effort, and donations from people like you. Please, contribute what you can–contributions of any amount, financial and otherwise, are appreciated. Thank you!


We are still accepting donations. Please stay tuned!

Contact us


Phone: 360-866-6881

U.S. Mail:
Thurston Public Power Initiative
PO Box 7624
Olympia, WA 98507-7624

Creates Local Jobs

Puget Sound Energy currently outsources most of their maintenance work to people in King County. The Public Utility District will bring many of those jobs BACK to Thurston County by hiring local workers to operate and maintain the electrical system.

This means that for the first time in over a decade, our skilled neighbors will be the ones working on and maintaining the system. Imagine the difference that the creation of good jobs makes to the health of our community–and the impact that their paycheck dollars will make when they are spent here instead of in King or Pierce counties.

More reliable service

Public Utility Districts (PUDs) have a much higher customer satisfaction rate than corporate-owned utilities!

They maintain the equipment better and respond more quickly to customers, meaning that you will get your power turned back on much sooner — in part because the workers are local and don’t have to drive hours or days to get here.

When you get your power from a corporation, you are an asset to be squeezed for shareholder profits. When you get your power from a PUD, you are an owner as well as a member of the community that the PUD is tasked to serve.

Lower electric rates

If you get your power from Puget Sound Energy, you pay MORE for your electricity than anyone else in the state of Washington– and they just raised our rates another 3.2% effective May 14.

Your energy bill will become significantly lower with public power. Throughout Washington, Public Utility Districts (PUDs) provide power at a lower cost — ranging from 10% to 58% less — than private energy corporations like Puget Sound Energy and Avista.