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AGO Opinions with Topic: PUBLIC UTILITY DISTRICTS
AGO 2002 No. 7 >  November 25, 2002
PUBLIC UTILITY DISTRICTS - ELECTIONS - DISTRICTS - COUNTY AUDITOR
PUBLIC UTILITY DISTRICTS – ELECTIONS – DISTRICTS –COUNTY AUDITOR 1.  When the commissioners of public utility districts draw new commissioner districts after a decessional census, they must include in their plan all the territory within any city which did not, at the time the public utility district was organized, own or operate all of the utilities which a public utility district is authorized to furnish; it is immaterial whether such a city of such description was later incorporated.  2.  If the commissioner district boundaries submitted by a the board of a public utility district do not include all the territory of the public utility district in the districting plan, the public utility district board of commissioners has the authority, and the duty, to submit a new plan correcting this infirmity.
AGO 2001 No. 7 >  September 17, 2001
PUBLIC FUNDS - CONSERVATION - PUBLIC UTILITY DISTRICTS
Authority of Public Utility District to finance certain projects for the purpose of conserving electrical energy 1. Article VIII, section 10 of the Washington Constitution and RCW 54.16.280 do not authorize public utility districts to finance projects that involve the installation or operation of pellet stoves, solar power systems, wind turbines, geothermal energy systems, or mini-hydroelectric systems on private property, for the reason that these projects would involve conversion from one energy source to another.
AGO 2001 No. 3 >  April 23, 2001
PUBLIC UTILITY DISTRICTS - PORT DISTRICTS - MUNICIPAL CORPORATIONS - TELECOMMUNICATIONS
Authority of public utility districts and rural port districts to provide telecommunications services and facilities to others 1.  Public utility districts and port districts lack authority to sell “excess capacity” telecommunications services to “end users”.  2.  RCW 54.16.330 and RCW 53.08.370 preclude public utility districts and port districts, respectively, from offering telecommunications services or facilities to “end users” under any circumstances.  3.  The Interlocal Cooperation Act, RCW 39.34, does not authorize public utility districts or port districts, through interlocal agreement, to offer telecommunications services or facilities to other governmental units where the other unit is an “end user” of such services or facilities.
AGO 1978 No. 13 >  May 1, 1978
CITIES AND TOWNS - DISTRICTS - PUBLIC UTILITY DISTRICTS - CONSERVATION - CONTRACTS - SALES OF CONSERVATION MATERIALS TO PUBLIC UTILITY CONSUMERS
CITIES AND TOWNS ‑- DISTRICTS ‑- PUBLIC UTILITY DISTRICTS ‑- CONSERVATION ‑- CONTRACTS ‑- SALES OF CONSERVATION MATERIALS TO PUBLIC UTILITY CONSUMERS (1) The provisions of Article VIII, § 7 of the Washington Constitution prohibit a city or public utility district from assisting its utility customers, generally, in the purchase of such conservation materials as insulation or storm windows from private suppliers by providing to the seller a guarantee of payment of part or all of the agreed upon purchase price for the conservation materials involved.  (2) The same provisions of Article VIII, § 7 of the Washington Constitution, however, do not prohibit a city or public utility district from itself purchasing and then later selling such conservation materials to its customers, generally, by means of installment contracts under which payment of the purchase price, plus a service charge, would be made by the purchasers on a periodic basis over a specified period of time.
AGO 1995 No. 7 >  May 19, 1995
OFFICES AND OFFICERS - PUBLIC UTILITY DISTRICTS - COMMISSIONERS - DISTRICTS - SALARIES AND WAGES - COMPENSATION
Authority of public utility district commissioners to receive additional compensation for service as president or secretary of the board of commissioners A public utility district commissioner is entitled to receive only the compensation specified for the position in RCW 54.12.080, and is not entitled to any additional compensation for serving as president or secretary of the board of commissioners.
AGO 1992 No. 21 >  September 9, 1992
PUBLIC UTILITY DISTRICTS - COMMISSIONERS - DISTRICTS - OFFICES AND OFFICERS - SALARIES AND WAGES - COMPENSATION - INSURANCE
Insurance as Compensation for Public Utility District Commissioners and Manager 1.  RCW 54.12.080(4) provides that any public utility district providing group insurance for its employees may provide its commissioners with the same insurance coverage.  In this circumstance, public utility district commissioners may receive insurance as part of their compensation. 2.  Article 2, section 25 (amend. 35) of the Washington Constitution provides that the compensation of a public officer shall not be increased during his or her term of office.  Article 30, section 1 of the Washington Constitution permits mid-term compensation increases only for public officers who do not fix their own compensation. Accordingly, public utility districts may decide to purchase life insurance policies for their commissioners, but may not actually provide the policies until the next terms of the respective commissioners' offices begin.
AGO 1998 No. 14 >  November 30, 1998
PUBLIC UTILITY DISTRICTS - ELECTRICAL
Authority of public utility district to engage in services ancillary to primary statutory purposes A public utility district has authority to sell and lease electrical fireplaces and other electrical appliances, and by contract to repair those appliances it sells or leases. A public utility district lacks authority to offer and provide Internet access, home security services, telephone services, cell phone and paging services, installation of telephone or cable equipment, and lacks authority to engage in the business of repairing electrical appliances other than those sold or leased by the district. Where proportionate to, and consistent with, the primary statutory purposes of the district, a public utility district may sell electrical power and may provide ancillary services such as vegetation management and power scheduling, to other electrical utilities located both within and without the State. A public utility district may sell or lease excess capacity on its fiber optic cable system to others, including private entities, assuming that the excess capacity has been acquired in amounts proportionate to the anticipated future needs of the district and not for the specific purpose of providing this service to others.
AGO 1957 No. 130 >  November 13, 1957
PUBLIC UTILITY DISTRICTS - OUT-OF-STATE INSTITUTION AS TRUSTEE OF CONSTRUCTION FUND
PUBLIC UTILITY DISTRICTS ‑- OUT-OF-STATE INSTITUTION AS TRUSTEE OF CONSTRUCTION FUND A public utility district has the power, under RCW 54.24.050 and 54.24.110, to employ out-of-state institutions as trustees, depositaries and paying agents to handle construction and revenue funds.
AGO 1958 No. 224 >  October 29, 1958
MUNICIPAL CORPORATIONS - PUBLIC UTILITY DISTRICTS - NOMINATION OF COMMISSIONERS BY PETITION - ELECTIONS - NOMINATION OF PUBLIC UTILITY DISTRICT COMMISSIONERS BY PETITION
MUNICIPAL CORPORATIONS ‑- PUBLIC UTILITY DISTRICTS ‑- NOMINATION OF COMMISSIONERS BY PETITION. ELECTIONS ‑- NOMINATION OF PUBLIC UTILITY DISTRICT COMMISSIONERS BY PETITION Any elector may sign nominating petitions for more than one prospective commissioner of public utility district.
AGO 1956 No. 299 >  July 12, 1956
TAXES - PUBLIC UTILITY DISTRICTS
TAXES ‑- PUBLIC UTILITY DISTRICTS A public utility district may not deduct from sales reported pursuant to RCW 54.28.020, current which is sold to members of an electric cooperative who are served pursuant to a lease‑purchase agreement with the cooperative whereunder 60% of the revenues are applied to retire the cooperative's debts and the remainder retained by the district.
AGO 1956 No. 229 >  March 20, 1956
PUBLIC UTILITY DISTRICTS - SCHOOL DISTRICTS - VALIDITY OF AGREEMENT UNDER WHICH P.U.D. COMPENSATES DISTRICT IN LIEU OF TAXES.
PUBLIC UTILITY DISTRICTS ‑- SCHOOL DISTRICTS - VALIDITY OF AGREEMENT UNDER WHICH P.U.D. COMPENSATES DISTRICT IN LIEU OF TAXES. A public utility district may enter into an agreement to compensate a school district for loss of taxes occasioned by purchase of private property within the school district by the P.U.D .
AGO 1953 No. 93 >  July 15, 1953
PUBLIC UTILITY DISTRICTS - LABOR UNIONS - POWER TO CONTRACT - RETROACTIVE PAYMENTS
PUBLIC UTILITY DISTRICTS ‑- LABOR UNIONS ‑- POWER TO CONTRACT ‑- RETROACTIVE PAYMENTS P.U.D. Commissioners may approve deferred pay to the anniversary date of a contract (March 1, 1953) for electrical workers who were previously covered by the union contract, although the contract is not signed until six weeks after that date. P.U.D. may approve the deferred pay to the anniversary date of the agreement for office workers not previously covered by the union contract, if said workers were, in fact, the negotiating and contracting party, not bound under a previous separate contract. The existence of a strike in the present situation does not alter the conclusions above.
AGO 1953 No. 39 >  May 13, 1953
TAXATION - MUNICIPAL TAXES - PUBLIC UTILITY DISTRICTS - TAXATION OF P.U.D. BY CITY
TAXATION ‑- MUNICIPAL TAXES ‑- PUBLIC UTILITY DISTRICTS ‑- TAXATION OF P.U.D. BY CITY. The payment of a valid city or town tax levied against a Public Utility District may be constitutionally treated as a District expense although the District's income is derived from customers within and without the corporate limits of the taxing city or town.
AGO 1952 No. 347 >  July 10, 1952
PUBLIC UTILITY DISTRICTS - FUNDS OF - DEPOSIT IN SAVINGS AND LOAN ASSOCIATIONS
PUBLIC UTILITY DISTRICTS ‑- FUNDS OF ‑- DEPOSIT IN SAVINGS AND LOAN ASSOCIATIONS A public utility district may invest its funds in any state or federal savings and loan association doing business in this state, up to the amount which is insured by the Federal Savings and Loan Insurance Corporation, and such savings and loan association need not post security for such deposit.
AGO 1952 No. 297 >  May 6, 1952
PUBLIC UTILITY DISTRICTS - CITY FRANCHISE ACQUIRED FROM PRIVATE POWER COMPANY - OBLIGATION OF DISTRICT TO CONTINUE FRANCHISE PAYMENTS TO CITY
PUBLIC UTILITY DISTRICTS ‑- CITY FRANCHISE ACQUIRED FROM PRIVATE POWER COMPANY ‑- OBLIGATION OF DISTRICT TO CONTINUE FRANCHISE PAYMENTS TO CITY A public utility district which takes over the franchise of a private power company, including such company's franchise with a city, is legally obligated for the payments to the city as stipulated in the franchise.
AGO 1950 No. 357 >  October 5, 1950
PUBLIC UTILITY DISTRICTS
PUBLIC UTILITY DISTRICTS A municipality may not condemn the property of a public utility district.
AGLO 1982 No. 7 >  April 14, 1982
DISTRICTS - PUBLIC UTILITY DISTRICTS - BONDS - CONTRACTS - ELECTIONS
NECESSITY FOR VOTER APPROVAL

(1) RCW 54.24.018 does not apply to PUD contractual obligations not involving issuance, by the district, of its own bonds.(2) If a PUD issues bonds in order to fund a prior contractual liability, the provisions of Wash. Const., Article VIII, § 6 (but not Article VII, § 2 or Article VIII, § 7) would be applicable.

AGLO 1982 No. 8 >  April 20, 1982
CITIES AND TOWNS - DISTRICTS - PUBLIC UTILITY DISTRICTS - TAXATION - ELECTIONS
EFFECT OF OPERATION OF SEPARATE ELECTRIC UTILITY BY MUNICIPALITY

(1) The residents of the Town of McCleary who are registered voters therein remain entitled (under the facts of this opinion) to participate in the election of Grays Harbor Public Utility District No. 1 commissioners even though the town operates its own electrical system. (2) Property situated within the Town of McCleary may not be taxed to construct, purchase or support the public utility district's electrical system, so long as the town continues to own or operate its own electrical utility.

AGLO 1979 No. 4 >  January 17, 1979
CITIES AND TOWNS - DISTRICTS - PUBLIC UTILITY DISTRICTS - CONSERVATION - CONTRACTS
CONSTITUTIONALITY OF PROPOSED PUBLIC UTILITY CONSERVATION PROGRAM It would be a violation of Article VIII, § 7 of the state constitution for a municipal utility or public utility district to advance funds to its customers in order to enable them to purchase conservation materials notwithstanding a projected resulting benefit to utility customers, generally.
AGO 2008 No. 5 >  March 27, 2008
COUNTIES - HEALTH - BOARD OF HEALTH - WATER - PUBLIC UTILITY DISTRICTS
Authority of county health board to order fluoridation of water supply. 1.  A county health board may lawfully order the fluoridation of a water supply system owned and operated by a public utility district and located within the county’s jurisdiction.  2.  Subject to constitutional requirements, a county health board may lawfully order a public utility district to fluoridate a discrete portion of the PUD’s water supply system.  3.  A county health board may enact a regulation requiring the fluoridation of water supply systems generally but, subject to constitutional requirements, a generally applicable regulation is not prerequisite to the issuance of enforcement orders on the subject.  4.  A county health board may lawfully order the fluoridation of a water supply system where the order is contingent upon a third-party source of funding for the fluoridation process.
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