OPALCO incumbents ask for vote | Letter

It is time to vote for Orcas District directors for OPALCO (and Rock Island). We, your current Orcas district directors — Jeffrey Struthers and Rick Christmas — ask for your vote.

Here is why we believe you should return both of us to the board for another term.

OPALCO has superb reliability and infrastructure, locally and in our connection to the mainland. Now are living through a time of accelerating climate change that could expose us to a situation like what recently happened in Texas.

Serving you on this board is a job to be done, not a prize to be won.

Over the last several years, we have worked aggressively, beyond “business as usual,” to put our islands on a path toward a more sustainable future. Already, your cooperative has:

• Completed our first solar-plus-storage “micro-grid” to enhance local reliance. Another is coming soon on San Juan Island to protect core community services during mainland outages.

• Greatly expanded low-cost options for members to efficiently electrify their heating and transportation.

• Responded proactively to meet Washington state legislation for clean energy requirements.

At the same time, we have greatly improved the broadband and communications infrastructure in the islands by:

• Making broadband more available for remote learning and working from home.

• Enabling our first county-wide communications system for first-responders.

• Providing free broadband for school children studying from home during stay-at-home orders.

All this, while avoiding any rate increase during the COVID crisis, keeping reserves for the unexpected, and preparing to augment local renewable generation in coming years. In sum, we are advancing the sustainability of our energy future here in the San Juans across many fronts. We ask for your vote to continue this work as a team, in partnership with the membership.

Jeffrey Struthers and Rick Christmas

Orcas Island