Trump Administration Backs off Plan to Sell Bonneville Power and other PMAs

Congressional representatives in Washington state are happy and relieved that the Trump Administration has backed off its plan to sell publicly owned electric utilities such as the Bonneville Power Administration.

U.S. Reps Jaime Herrera Beutler, Dan Newhouse, Cathy McMorris Rodgers and Dave Reichert, all from Washington, issued a joint statement last week saying it was a “big relief to know that this harmful proposal will not be pursued.”

The U.S. Department of Energy announced it would not sell off the BPA—which owns and operates transmission assets in the Pacific Northwest—and other public utility assets as part of a revenue generating measure. Exactly one year earlier, President Trump’s budget proposal floated the idea of selling the four federal power marketing administrations under the Department of Energy.

The plan drew immediate fire from more than a dozen Congressional leaders from the Pacific Northwest in May 2017. Late last week, many of the same representatives were happy that the plan was abandoned.

“On behalf of the 12 million residents and businesses in the Pacific Northwest who rely on the clean, affordable hydropower generated from BPA, we applaud the administration for responding to our concerns over the potential sale of BPA’s transmission assets and making the formal decision to abandon such plans,” the letter from Beutler, Newhouse, Rodgers and Reichert reads.
In addition to the BPA, the other public utilities mentioned for sale a year ago included the Southeastern Power Administration, Southwestern Power Administration and the Western Area Power Administration. The four entities deliver and market power in 34 states.

The BPA alone operates 75 percent of the Pacific Northwest’s high voltage transmission grid, carrying hydropower from the dams on Columbia River Basin to California and other markets.


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