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BPA Decides on 7.5 Percent Wholesale Rate Cut

by Associated Press, September 16, 2004

The Bonneville Power Administration said Thursday it has decided to reduce its wholesale power rates by 7.5 percent beginning Oct. 1, a move the federal power agency hopes will strengthen the regional economy.

The BPA had said last month it would reduce wholesale rates by at least 5 percent to begin the federal fiscal year.

Steve Wright, BPA administrator, said the agency has reduced costs by $70 million since the wholesale rates were last set in 2003. Another $350 million in savings are forecast for fiscal years 2005 and 2006 after rate disputes with investor-owned utilities were settled last June, he said.

Bonneville has suffered from dry conditions for most of the past five years, limiting the flow of water through the system of Columbia and Snake river hydroelectric dams that supply nearly half the power to the Northwest.

The Portland-based federal power marketing agency had been forced to raise rates following the 2001 Western energy crisis triggered by drought, failed California energy deregulation and Enron Corp. market manipulation.

Wright said the proposed 7.5 wholesale rate reduction "effectively leaves $123 million in the pockets of Northwest ratepayers."

Kyle McSlarrow, deputy U.S. secretary of energy, immediately praised the decision, saying it reflected Bush administration efforts to control energy costs and improve the Northwest economy.

Associated Press
BPA Decides on 7.5 Percent Wholesale Rate Cut, September 16, 2004

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