It was 78 years ago that supporters of Mason Public Utility District Number 3 emerged victorious from hard fought political and legal battles to claim their right to obtain cost-based and locally controlled services from their own utility.

In the early part of the 20th century, electricity – for those who could afford it – was a luxury. Folks who lived in rural areas of much of the country lived “off the grid” and experienced hard lives.

Proponents of Mason PUD 3 in 1934 filed a petition with the County Auditor for the formation of a countywide PUD. Despite strong opposition from private power interests, voters approved the measure. But the case had to go all the way to the State Supreme Court, before winning the right to begin local operations in 1939.

Mason PUD 3 began providing electricity to eight customers. Over the years, it has grown to where it now provides service to nearly 34,000 customers in most of Mason County and small portions of Kitsap, Grays Harbor, and Pierce Counties. The PUD has almost 1,800 miles of overhead and underground lines to serve its customers.

Public Power Week is being celebrated October 1 through 7 as part of an effort to educate customers on the value and history of electric utilities that are owned and operated by local communities throughout the nation.