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Economic and dam related articles

Utilities, BPA Move Closer to Agreement

by Luke Hegdal
Hermiston Herald, June 7, 2011

"It's been in litigation now for the past five or six years," Brookshier said.

At issue is how much money BPA pays to privately held utilities versus the amount paid to public utilities like Hermiston Electric Services.

"It all comes down to what is an appropriate allocation to the private utilities," Brookshier said.

The Hermiston City Council voted to approve the agreement in large part because it is consistent with past REP payments and it streamlines the whole process while adding certainty.

During the first round of voting, 91 percent of public utilities needed to vote in favor of the settlement for BPA to consider going forward with the agreement. Only 81 percent of publicly owned utilities voted in favor.

Following that vote, the bar was lowered to 75 percent, and another vote taken. The second round actually increased public utility support to 88 percent, with some votes still coming in.

According to Brookshier, however, that won't guarantee the settlement takes effect. Several utilities have vowed to fight the settlement, if it does take effect, and the BPA will have to sign the agreement as well.

"BPA has until the 14th of this month," Brookshier said.

Should BPA sign the agreement, which some see as likely following BPA Administrator Steve Wright's endorsement, how non-signing utilities are treated will still be a thorny issue to resolve.

Luke Hegdal
Utilities, BPA Move Closer to Agreement
Hermiston Herald, June 7, 2011

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