Public Input Requested

Want to share your thoughts or stay up to date on this work? Send your answers to the following questions to

  • How familiar are you with electricity demand response programs?
  • Do you have a smart thermostat or smart water heater in your home or business?
  • Have you thought about owning an electric vehicle (EV)?
  • Do you have thoughts or concerns with the availability of public electric vehicle charging stations?

What is PURPA?

The Public Utility Regulatory Policies Act of 1978 (PURPA) was enacted to encourage renewable resources for electric generation and electricity conservation as a response to the 1970s energy crisis. The act is administered by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC). Cowlitz County PUD is required to comply with this act.

PURPA has required utilities to consider a variety of financial models and mechanisms for energy procurement and conservation.

New “Shall Consider” Standards

The Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA) amended PURPA, creating a requirement for utilities to consider and then make a determination about the implementation of the new standards listed in Title 16 USC 2621(d) 20 & 21:

Demand Response and Demand Flexibility (Standard 20)

(A) In general

Each electric utility shall promote the use of demand-response and demand-flexibility practices by commercial, residential, and industrial consumers to reduce electricity consumption during periods of unusually high demand.

(B) Rate recovery

(i) In general

Each State regulatory authority shall consider establishing rate mechanisms allowing an electric utility with respect to which the State regulatory authority has ratemaking authority to timely recover the costs of promoting demand-response and demand flexibility practices in accordance with subparagraph (A).

(ii) Nonregulated electric utilities

A nonregulated electric utility may establish rate mechanisms for the timely recovery of the costs of promoting demand-response and demand flexibility practices in accordance with subparagraph (A).

Electric Vehicle Charging Programs (Standard 21)

Each State shall consider measures to promote greater electrification of the transportation sector, including the establishment of rates that—

(A) promote affordable and equitable electric vehicle charging options for residential, commercial, and public electric vehicle charging infrastructure;

(B) improve the customer experience associated with electric vehicle charging, including by reducing charging times for light-, medium-, and heavy-duty vehicles;

(C) accelerate third-party investment in electric vehicle charging for light-, medium-, and heavy-duty vehicles; and

(D) appropriately recover the marginal costs of delivering electricity to electric vehicles and electric vehicle charging infrastructure.

While the district is not required to adopt these standards, we are directed by federal law to assess the appropriateness of the standards, informed by public input, and determine a course of action.

What Cowlitz County PUD is doing to comply

Under the new requirements, Cowlitz PUD must consider and then determine if adoption of the standards is appropriate for our utility. The determination will be informed through the process described below:

On October 25, 2022, the Board of Commissioners approved a motion declaring Cowlitz County PUD commencement of PURPA Standards consideration process.

Schedule and hold a public hearing (Date/Time to be announced).

Prepare and recommend a determination on whether to adopt the standards.  Recommendations will be based on research conducted and input received by the public.

By November 15, 2023 the Board of Commissioners will determine if Cowlitz PUD will implement or decline to implement these standards.

Flowchart visualizing the approval process described above