Franklin Public Utility District (PUD), local electricity providers in the rural areas of Franklin County, Washington, announced on July 29, 2018, that they will suspend the supply of electricity to bitcoin miners in the city till further notice, in order to review the impact of bitcoin mining operations on the electricity system.
According to local news source, Tri-City Herald, PUD has officially stopped accepting applications for power use from bitcoin miners in Pasco, Connell, Kahlotus, and other rural areas of Franklin County, in Washington, United States.
The moratorium, which has been stamped by the Public Utility District commissioners, will give officials of the energy organization the necessary time needed to reassess the impact of cryptocurrency mining activities on the electricity grid and formulate new tariff structure if need be.
Things Heating up in Tri-City Area
The Tri-Cities have been a hotbed for cryptocurrency miners in recent times, due to the availability of cheap electricity in the area, as compared to other parts of the nation. Wholly owned and governed by the people, Franklin PUD provides affordable, reliable, non-profit electricity to residents.
“Because of the ongoing extreme heat, Franklin PUD is seeing power use higher than normal. To help ease the strain on the electric system, customers are encouraged to conserve energy and use appliances during non-peak times,” tweeted Franklin PUD, on July 26, 2018.
PUDs in Washington Getting Stricter
Presently, there are about 28 Public Utility Districts in Washington, and many of these Regional Transmission Organizations (RTO) have started closing their doors to bitcoin miners.
On April 9, 2018, BTCManager informed that Washington Chelan County PUD had placed an embargo on illegal bitcoin mining operations in the area, after discovering that cryptocurrency miners were engaged in secret mining operations despite being fully aware of the moratorium on mining applications. Commissioner Garry Arseneault said, at the time:
“…heightened enforcement is aimed at ‘scoundrels’ who are deliberating thwarting PUD regulations. I want to take one step back and say that users of power that have legitimate requests, and have been properly sized for the use of that power, that’s not the kind of entity we’re discussing today.”
In a related development, Benton PUD has put in place a new electricity policy aimed at creating a balance between power usage and electricity fees for bitcoin mining activities in the region.