PUD 3’s affordable electricity rates and high-speed fiber-optic network have proved to be valuable for more than just residents and existing businesses. Cryptocurrency operations have made themselves at home in the county, and it’s draining the grid.

Since cryptocurrency operations are incredibly energy intensive, PUD commissioners have approved a moratorium on accepting new applications for these types of businesses. The PUD’s goal is to assess the impact these operations are having on the local power system and rates. The moratorium does not include existing applications.

“We need breathing room to study the local impact on power demands,” said Michele Patterson, PUD 3 power supply manager.  “A large grocery store or hospital uses between 30 and 40 kilowatt-hours per square foot. Computer data processing can use over 2,100 kilowatt-hours per square foot.”

Utilities and cities elsewhere have placed moratoriums on cryptocurrency operations. Since cryptocurrency is such a new industry, utilities and cities need time to gather data on the impact these operations have on communities.