Bonneville Power eyes wholesale rate hike

Peninsula Daily News

Bonneville Power Administration, which provides electricity to the Clallam County Public Utility District and 28 other PUDs and 42 municipalities around the Northwest, has proposed a 9.6 percent average wholesale power rate increase.

If approved next July, the increase proposed Thursday would take effect in October 2013 and trigger a ripple effect for customers around the region.

“We’re very in tune to what Bonneville is doing,” said Clallam County PUD spokesman Michael Howe.

Bonneville officials said the increase would compensate for reduced revenue from surplus power and pay for investments in the Federal Columbia River Power System.

BPA also proposed a 13 percent increase in transmission rates to maintain system reliability and meet a growing demand.

Howe noted that Bonneville rate hikes typically end up lower than first proposed.

“Of course, they have a lot of work they need to do still to finalize their proposed increase,” he said.

Puget Sound Energy, an investor-owned utility that provides electricity to most of East Jefferson County, generates about 45 percent of its power and buys the rest from sources other than Bonneville.

BPA in January began discussions about programs, future costs and potential rates for 2014 and 2015.

At the time, Bonneville forecast power rates to increase between 12 percent and 21 percent by 2015, and for transmission rates to grow by about 12 percent.

“We are acutely aware of the economic impact of our rates and have worked closely with the region to develop a plan that keeps rates as low as possible while making needed investments in infrastructure,” said Steve Wright, BPA administrator and chief executive officer, in a statement.

“We remain committed to covering all our costs and providing timely repayment to the U.S. Treasury.”

Last modified: November 12. 2012 5:37PM
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