A utility in Washington State – a popular location for bitcoin miners – has cut off electricity to three "unauthorized" sites that officials said posed a risk to public safety.
The Chelan County Public Utility District (PUD) said Monday the three mines – located separately in Wenatchee, Malaga and Chelan – were "using enough power to create fire risks for neighbors and damage grid equipment not sized for the load." For that reason, utility officials disconnected the power at those sites.
"Not only are we concerned, we're incensed that individuals are putting people at risk," PUD Commissioner Steve McKenna said in a statement issued April 2. "We're not going to tolerate it. This is a strong message, and I want to make that very clear."
The PUD said that in the future, rogue operators could face potential legal repercussions for power theft and public safety endangerment. However, PUD commissioner Garry Arseneault clarified that any heightened restrictions would focus on unknown mining operations, and not miners that are approved and followed the rules.
Arseneault was quoted as saying:
Chelan County – a region known for its abundant hydropower – is an attractive site for industrial-scale miners, who tap the region's comparatively cheap power to maximize profits.
Other local governments in the area are reportedly making similar moves.
Wenatchee, for example, recently passed new cryptocurrency mining ordinances. According to Koho 101, the city joined Chelan City, Leavenworth and East Wenatchee in restricting bitcoin mining operations.
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