Washington State Utility Cuts Off Electricity on Three Crypto Mining Sites

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A Washington State utility has disconnected the electricity supply to three “unauthorized” crypto mining sites which utility officials claimed to pose risk to public safety. Washington State has been a favorite site among Bitcoin miners.

On Monday, April 2, the Chelan County Public Utility District (PUD) stated that the three cryptocurrency mines were, “using enough power to create fire risks for neighbors and damage grid equipment not sized for the load.” Because of this, utility officials decided to cut off the energy supply in the said sites. The three mining sites were separately located in Wenatchee, Malaga, and Chelan.

“Not only are we concerned, we’re incensed that individuals are putting people at risk,” Steve McKenna, PUD Commissioner said in an April 2 statement. “We’re not going to tolerate it. This is a strong message, and I want to make that very clear.”

The PUD stated that rogue operators could be facing possible legal repercussions for power theft and public safety endangerment. On the other hand, PUD commissioner Garry Arseneault made clear that the stricter restrictions would be implemented against underground mining operators, and not authorized cryptocurrency miners that adhere to rules.

The PUD commissioner was quoted as saying:

“What we’re discussing is a person who is purposely trying to slip around the end and use power in a way that a facility was not designed for and doing so in a manner where there’s been no request for service. … I see yet, once again, a reason to support the installation of automated meters to be able to confront these scoundrels before they do burn an apartment building down and perhaps kill a family or children in the process.”

A location famous for its rich hydropower supply, Chelan County has become an attractive site for industrial-scale miners, who seek to tap the region’s relatively inexpensive power in order to maximize their profits.

However, the PUD last month implemented a moratorium for new Bitcoin miners. The utility cited safety concerns as the reason behind the issuance of the moratorium.

As a result, other local governments in the region are reportedly taking the similar course of action.

For instance, Wenatchee has recently passed new crypto mining ordinances. Koho 101 stated that Wenatchee joined Chelan City, Leavenworth, and East Wenatchee in imposing restrictions to Bitcoin mining operations.