Manager’s Report – August 2017
Salem and Washington, DC
A special thank you to regional legislators on a bipartisan proposal to support the 2014 Biological Opinion governing the Federal Columbia River Power System (FCRPS). Specifically, the legislators include Representative Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA), with Representatives Greg Walden (R-OR), Dan Newhouse (R-WA), Jaime Herrera-Beutler (R-WA), and Kurt Schrader (D-OR). This legislative proposal would allow for logical and appropriate stewardship while an updated National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) process is completed.
Together we have already spent billions of dollars on salmon recovery and overall good environmental stewardship across the Pacific Northwest. Even though we are making progress on species recovery and there continues to be very broad support for the efforts and funding from the Bonneville Power Administration (BPA) power customers like your PUD, a few parties continue to litigate FCRPS operations. This includes our own State of Oregon. Because of this, I was one of 36 signatories to a letter to Oregon Governor Brown requesting a sensible approach to this seemingly nonsensical situation.
Oregon’s request for injunctive relief with the U.S. District Court seeks even more spring spill at the dams, which can have negative consequences for fish and increases electricity costs for Northwest ratepayers like you. Oregon’s request is estimated to reduce hydropower generation by about 815 average megawatts over the April to June time-period. This approach could cost about $40 million dollars per year on average in reduced revenues and/or increased power acquisition costs.
Reminder: All the payers into the BPA system are not-for-profit, consumer owned utilities just like your PUD. This is potentially real money added to your monthly bill through cost-based rates, not some faceless out-of-town shareholder having their stock price impacted.
Equally disturbing is that loss of hydroelectric generation is also contrary to the state’s stated carbon reduction goals. This increased spill and reduced generation will likely increase the purchase of power on the wholesale market of fossil-fueled generation.
So again, to be heading a direction that will do little or nothing for fish and only create tens of millions in new costs and more legal uncertainty doesn’t make any logical sense to me or to the rest of the consumer owned utility executives across Oregon. Please wish us luck on getting a response.
I recognize that is a lot to evaluate. I am very thankful for your trust as your elected Board of Directors and I do our regional work on your behalf on these and many other topics.