There's already concern about a plan by Chelan PUD to shut off power in remote locations when wildfire danger is extremely high. 

Chelan County Commissioner Shon Smith thinks it could be detrimental to homeowners in rural areas that are required to have emergency fire systems that use electricity. 

"What happens to the homes that were forced to put in suppression systems in their homes with a 20,000-gallon spare tank that has to be pressurized somehow, and the power is turned off," said Smith. 

The PUD is holding a drop-in session in Leavenworth, Wenatchee and Entiat this week. 

A county commissioner will be in attendance at each of the meetings. 

Homes under 3,600 square feet not situated near a fire hydrant capable of 750 gallons per minute are required to have fire suppression systems. Homes over 3,600 square feet not near a fire hydrant must have systems with greater water flow. 

Smith told fellow commissioners during a public discussion Monday that the plan to shut off power won't be fair to homeowners who spent heavily on suppression systems. 

"Here we are forcing homes to put in something that will not work when it needs to work," Smith said. 

Chelan PUD has had a power shutoff pilot program in place since 2021 for about 3,000 customers in the Lake Wenatchee/Plain area.  

The PUD has considered it a measure of last resort, which has not yet been used. It's meant for conditions when the ground is very dry with extremely high winds and low humidity. 

The utility plans to expand the pilot program to the entire county this summer. 

The PUD community drop-in sessions take place in Leavenworth (Tuesday, June 18, 4:30 p.m. at the Leavenworth PUD Auditorium), Wenatchee (Wednesday, June 19, 4:30 p.m. at Beehive Grange) and Entiat (Thursday, June 20, 6-8 p.m. at Entiat Fire Hall). 

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