In 1936, the Public Utility District No. 1 of Lewis County (Lewis County PUD) was voted into being, and three commissioners were elected. Martin Jacobsen, A. H. McCall and R. B. Peters were the first elected commissioners. Later, Mr. Peters was disqualified, and G. A. Peters was appointed in his place.
In 1937, the commission was organized and Lewis County PUD, working out of the basement of the county courthouse, began the task of making surveys of those areas of the county that did not have electric service. By June of 1937, the commissioners made application to the Rural Electrification Administration (REA) for a loan to construct about 66 miles of rural lines. In 1938, $71,000 was received from the REA, and construction began in November. In March 1939, the Alpha section of the project was energized, and the first electric bills were mailed on April 1, 1939 to approximately 60 customers. In June 1939, the Randle section of this project was completed and soon we had purchased the Randle Power and Light Company. By the end of 1939, we had approximately 72 miles of line in operation and were billing about 320 customers. With additional REA loan funds, another 150 to 200 miles of lines were built. In 1940, we purchased the Cowlitz Valley Power Company, which served 300 customers and operated about 45 miles of line. At the same time, construction of 204 miles of line and a new substation at Mossyrock began.
By 1941, the construction begun in the previous year was completed, and BPA began power deliveries to the substation at Mossyrock. In August 1941, Lewis County PUD acquired the Interstate Power and Light Company, which served about 530 customers in Mineral, Elbe, National and Ashford. In 1942, we purchased the present headquarters building in Chehalis. The building was leased to the Warren Motor Company until 1943, and then to the Boeing Aircraft Company to build wing parts, pilot seat supports, and the mount for the lower gun turret for the B-17. It would go on to build parts for the B-29’s until the end of World War II. To keep the building’s purpose from being forgotten, a plaque was put up for the 60th anniversary of the end of WW II dedicated to the nearly 700 people who worked there. Seventy percent were women named Rosie the Riveters.
In 1946, the building was remodeled and occupied for the first time by Lewis County PUD on December 27, 1946. On September 22, 1948, we purchased the electric system of the Puget Sound Power and Light Company located in central and western Lewis County. The purchase of the Packwood Electric Company in May 1949 completed the acquisitions of other utilities in Lewis County. By the end of 1949, we served approximately 10,000 consumers in Lewis County.
Since 1950, we have built a local office in Morton, and acquired warehouse facilities both in Chehalis and Morton. In 2005, we completed the construction of a new Operations Center in the Chehalis Industrial park with over 95,000 square feet of covered area on eight acres. The Operations Center includes a materials warehouse, an operation and purchasing office, a crew staging area, equipment storage, a vehicle maintenance shop, meter shop, tree trimming office, and a fueling station. In 2010, we completed construction of a new office and warehouse in Morton with approximately 25,000 square feet of covered area on 6 acres.