Light Snowpack Hits BPA Revenue Forecast
The Seattle Times, February 8, 2010
A weak winter snowpack has caused the Bonneville Power Administration to dramatically revise its revenue forecasts from the regional hydropower system that depends on snow melt to turn turbines.
BPA, which markets federal hydropower to Seattle City Light and many other Northwest utilities, expects to lose $6 million in the fiscal year that ends Sept. 30. That compares with a previous forecast that put the BPA more than $200 million in the black for the fiscal year.
"This is a very serious decline that impacts our power supply and therefore our finances," said BPA Administrator Steve Wright in a written statement.
"We're hopeful that the outlook will improve, but we cannot count on it. The reality is that water is the fuel that provides much of the Northwest's electricity."
BPA officials say the reduced estimates reflect an El Nino weather pattern that has brought unusually dry and warm winter conditions to the Northwest. The runoff is now forecast to be about 74 percent of the 30-year average, and the lowest since 2001.
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