BPA Administrator Asks a Question of Values;
"We are the stewards of the greatest hydroelectric system in the country. Our system provides 45 percent of the power and 75 percent of the transmission in th Pacific Northwest at cost. We don't make profits. We want to take care of the system we've inherited and leave it in good shape for future generations."
That's one of the messages BPA Administrator Steve Wright is delivering as he speaks to various audiences in the Northwest about the agency's future outlook. "We have this asset that has incredible value to the region," Wright has said. "To maintain that value for the long run, we must restore its financial health."
Wright has posed the question, "Should we raise rates -- again -- while the economy is not doing well -- or should we cut costs that get to core values of the region, such as spending for fish and wildlife, energy conservation and renewables, and perhaps some infrastructure investments?"
BPA is opening those questions and others to comments from the enitre region before making the hard choices. Wright says there is no "silver bullet" that solves the problems.
"Our purpose is to hold up a mirror to the region," he said. No one choice will be the full solution; BPA is likely to "mix and match" among them, he suggested.
Some of the responses to Wright's messages have surprised him. "I'm touched by the number of people who say they place great value on BPA," he said. "We want you to be here for the long run,' they've told me. "Be good financial stewards.' But they've also let us know that they're hurting. 'Do everything you can to keep rates as low as possible,' they've said."
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