The PUD has multiple COVID-19 Assistance Program for customers who need assistance paying their bills due to economic hardships resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic. Disconnects for non-payment and late fees are currently suspended per Governor's Proclamation 20-23.7.

The Grays Harbor PUD and Summit Pacific Medical Center are seeking a pair of grants that when combined will expand the utility telecommunications network in East Grays Harbor County and the telehealth capabilities of the hospital district.

“In the current circumstances, the need for a robust and extensive fiber network is more important than ever,” said PUD Core Services Director Rob Hanny, whose office oversees the PUD Telecommunications Department. “The combined efforts of the PUD and Summit Pacific have the potential to address several areas of need for this area. Utility service, public health, economic development, the tribal community, and education could all see a positive impact if our partnership is successful.”

In seeking the $1.5-million Public Works Board grant, the PUD is continuing its fiber expansion efforts by bringing the utility fiber network into the communities of Cedarville, Porter, Malone and Oakville; areas that have been underserved in the area of internet access for several years. The most immediate benefit for the utility will be the connection of the Cedarville substation to the PUD fiber network, improving utility response time to outages and other service needs. A collateral impact of the expansion will be improved connections for area businesses, schools, farms, tribal community, and emergency response systems.

“A strong fiber network is the key to economic development in this area, but with so much business and education being done from home due to the COVID-19 pandemic, it becomes a vital need for the entire area,” said Hanny. “We’ve heard stories of residents having to drive into Elma, just to check email and send in homework assignments. If businesses can’t connect with customers and students can’t attend online classes, you can’t expect them to cope with this crisis.”

The expansion of the fiber network down the Chehalis River Valley will also be a major benefit to patients of Summit Pacific Medical Center, who are now able to request virtual healthcare visits if they aren’t wanting to go out in public. Summit Pacific is seeking a grant to expand their telehealth services and capabilities to better support these efforts.

Summit Pacific’s Director of Care Innovation, Jennifer Brackeen shared, "Summit Pacific aims to expand access to patients by enhancing our telemedicine infrastructure and capabilities through our partnership with the Grays Harbor Public Utility District. Summit patients live all over Grays Harbor from McCleary to Westport. Some of them live in more remote areas such as Porter and Cedarville where internet access is less than ideal. We want patients to be able to have access to virtual health care across the county."

In early May, healthcare providers began seeing an alarming trend of people delaying care for injuries and worrisome symptoms – sometimes leading to hospitalizations that could have been avoided with earlier care. The reasons for delaying care include concerns about a higher risk for COVID-19 infection and worries that healthcare teams were too busy for them.

“What we don’t want to see is patients putting off their routine healthcare visits and putting themselves at increased risk of health crisis. While we have taken extra precautions to ensure the safety of our patients, we understand their concerns,” says Brackeen. "The combination of improving broadband access and mobile hot spots with increased access to care will get us one step closer to being the healthiest community in the Nation."

The Grays Harbor Public Utility District is notifying customers of a planned power outage on Fleetwood Ave. in Ocean Shores at 9:00 AM on Tuesday, September 22, 2020.  The outage is expected to last until 3:00 PM on that day and will affect around 16 customers.  Those impacted are residents on Fleetwood Ave., between the intersection with Ocean Shores Blvd and North Portal Loop.  All impacted customers will receive a notification phone call from the PUD.

The outage will allow crews to complete pole replacement work in the area.

In preparation for this outage, customers are advised to take precautions with any electronic equipment such as computers, televisions, and microwaves by unplugging those items.  You should leave them disconnected until after the power has been fully restored. 

The outage time of six hours is only an estimate and power could be restored at any time as work is completed.  Therefore, it is not safe to do home electrical work or repairs during that period.

Olympic Stadium in Hoquiam is the site of a newest mobile hotspot installed by the Grays Harbor PUD and other partners.   Users can either walk or drive into the parking lot of the Cherry Street landmark, choose the “homeworkhub” Wi-Fi network on their mobile device and receive free access to the PUD fiber network for business, school and a host of other needs.

In all, the PUD has installed six mobile hotspots located throughout Grays Harbor.  The sites can be found at:

McCleary City Hall, 100 South Third St.

Satsop School, 853 Monte Elma Rd.

Wishkah School, 4640 Wishkah Rd.

Oakville School District, 105 School St.

Quinault School District, 6130 US Highway 101, Amanda Park

Olympic Stadium, 101 28th St., Hoquiam

Equipment for the four sites has been provided to the utility free of charge by the Information Technology Disaster Resource Center, a private, industry funded disaster relief organization while the bandwidth is being offered by Northwest Open Access Network (NoaNet).

The Grays Harbor Public Utility District is notifying customers of a planned power outage on Bigelow Drive in South Aberdeen at 9:00 AM on Wednesday, September 9, 2020.  The outage is expected to last until 4:00 PM on that day and will affect around 10 customers.  Those impacted are residents on Bigelow Drive, starting at 51 Bigelow Drive and going to the end of the line.  All impacted customers will receive a notification phone call from the PUD.

The outage will allow crews to complete pole replacement work in the area.

In preparation for this outage, customers are advised to take precautions with any electronic equipment such as computers, televisions, and microwaves by unplugging those items.  You should leave them disconnected until after the power has been fully restored. 

The outage time of seven hours is only an estimate and power could be restored at any time as work is completed.  Therefore, it is not safe to do home electrical work or repairs during that period.

Olympic Stadium in Hoquiam is the site of a new mobile hotspot installed by the Grays Harbor PUD and other partners.   Users can either walk or drive into the parking lot of the Cherry Street landmark, choose the “homeworkhub” Wi-Fi network on their mobile device and receive free access to the PUD fiber network for business, school and a host of other needs.

“Many organizations have come together to make this happen in Grays Harbor and around the state,” said PUD Core Services Director Rob Hanny, whose office oversees the PUD Telecommunications department.  “With students headed back to school with remote classrooms, it serves as a reminder of just how important access to online services are.”

The Olympic Stadium site, offered by the City of Hoquiam, joins three drive-up sites that were installed in May at the McCleary City Hall, the Wishkah Valley School, and the Satsop School.  Equipment for the four sites has been provided to the utility free of charge by the Information Technology Disaster Resource Center, a private, industry funded disaster relief organization while the bandwidth is being offered by Northwest Open Access Network (NoaNet).

The local access is part of a larger, statewide effort to provide free Wi-Fi access to Washington residents that began at the outset of the COVID-19 pandemic.  Partners in the state’s drive-in Wi-Fi hotspots project include: Washington State University; Washington State Library, part of the Washington Office of the Secretary of State; members of the Washington Public Utility Districts Association (WPUDA) and NoaNet; the Washington State Broadband Office; Washington Independent Telecommunications Association (WITA); Washington Technology Solutions (WaTech); and the Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI). 

To date, well over 100 of the new drive-in hotspots are operational, in addition to 301 existing Washington State Library hotspots identified across the state. All told, some 600 public hotspots will soon be available to keep Washington communities connected. 

For complete information and a map of locations, visit www.driveinwifi.wa.gov.  The map will be updated as more sites come online.