BPA Calls for Rate Increase
by Ted Sickinger
The Oregonian, February 11, 2009
The Bonneville Power Administration said today that it will likely need to raise electricity rates for more than 140 public utilities that buy its power by 7 to 8 percent starting in October.
The federal agency, which sells power from 31 dams and a nuclear plant in the Columbia River Basin, said the rate increase proposal was driven by increased costs at its dams and nuclear plant, as well as higher expenses for court-ordered salmon recovery programs.
The agency has also generated less surplus power sales because of the recession and poor water conditions. Revenues from those sales, which can amount to 20 to 25 percent of BPA's annual power revenues, act as a credit to keep rates low for public utility customers in the Northwest.
The proposed rate increase is subject to public review, which will begin in March before a final rate decision is made in July. BPA's current wholesale power rate is $26.90 per megawatt-hour. It expects to hold transmission rates flat.
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