Truckee Donner PUD has been serving Truckee for over 80 years. In 1927, after a five year drought, the Truckee River wasn’t able to turn the water wheel for Truckee Electric Company’s private generator. Registered voters of the area drew up a petition calling for the formation of a special district to buy electricity from the downstream generators of Sierra Pacific Power Company and sell it to local residents.
For the first 20 years the Truckee Public Utility District’s four or five part time employees served only a few dozen houses and shops in the downtown area. Among the employees were a general manager and a secretary who each earned $10 a month. Sierra Pacific maintained the electric lines on a contract basis.
As Truckee grew, community members began to see the PUD as a means to meet other local needs. During the 1940s the District began buying some of the private water companies that provided the town with fresh water from the surrounding underground springs. Much of the land that was acquired with the water companies was sold to encourage development. This brought a whole new generation of young families with growing needs for water and power. The PUD provided the public school sites and used the proceeds of the sale to drill wells, install more power lines and hire maintenance crews.
In the late 1950s the District helped to develop organized recreation for the community. The Manager, several Board members and local volunteers planned and built a golf course on property south of the river; a few years later, it was sold to private parties and is now known as the Ponderosa Golf Course. The residents voted to form a separate recreation and park district in the early 1960s.
Interstate 80 was completed in 1964 and resulted in an avalanche of tourists and many new Truckee residents. A new agricultural inspection station was built on the freeway and the PUD purchased the old station for its headquarters.
The District borrowed money from the Rural Electrification Administration during the 1960s to expand the electric system and to build the Truckee substation. It then purchased the Donner lake distribution facilities from Sierra Pacific Power Company and changed its name to the Truckee Donner Public Utility District. Also, an engineering firm was hired to develop a comprehensive water plan for Truckee.
Tahoe Donner, originally called Northwoods, was developed by Lake World during the 1970’s. When it was acquired by Dart Industries in 1973, its water and electric lines amounted to five times the lines in the rest of the District. The number of customers almost doubled.
Since 1980, the District has sought out alternate energy sources and pursued development of hydroelectric plants at Boca, Prosser and Stampede Dams, as well as negotiating for delivery of two megawatts of power from the Central Valley Project. The community of Hirschdale was annexed into the District and a grant obtained to upgrade and develop a new water source. A new office/warehouse complex was constructed, and many electric and water system improvements were accomplished.
Truckee Donner PUD is one of 6,000 special districts in California. It occupies 45.5 square miles beginning four miles from the northern border just beyond Alder Creek Road south to the Placer County line, and 11 miles from the western shore of Donner Lake eastward to the rim of Boca Dam, and includes the community of Hirschdale. The registered voters within the District own and control the PUD, and elect five directors to serve on the board in staggered four-year terms.
Today, the District maintains a staff of 66 full-time employees, and serves approximately 13,145 electric customers and 12,586 water customers. Its mission has always been: to provide reliable, high quality water and electrical power services while meeting customer demand, and to manage District resources in a safe, open, responsible, environmentally sound manner at the lowest practical cost.