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The city owns and operates a complete electrical system consisting of a hydroelectric generating plant, transmission system and distribution system. The generating system, built-in 1929, consists of a diversion dam on the Nisqually River (near the town of Yelm) and a canal that crosses the Yelm Prairie for approximately 9 miles to a hydroelectric generator. From the generator, the power is transmitted 26 miles to Centralia, where it is distributed to over ten thousand customers. The city can currently generate over 12 megawatts of power during peak flows, about 30% of the city's needs. This relatively cheap source of power has contributed to one of the lowest electrical rates in the Northwest.
How Centralia's Electricity is Generated
Traditionally Centralia City Light Department's hydroelectric project has provided over 20% of the power its customers need, in 2020 this fell to 15%. The remainder is purchased through long-term contracts with Bonneville Power Administration (BPA) and market purchases. The percentages below provide information on the fuels used to generate the electricity Centralia provided to its customers in 2020. While Centralia owns no nuclear generation, a portion of the power purchased from BPA comes from that source and is reflected in the fuel mix shown in the table.
This information is provided in compliance with fuel disclosure provisions of the Fuel Mix Disclosure section of State law. For additional information, please contact Centralia City Light.