Energy secretary names Bonneville head

WASHINGTON, DC, Jan. 24, 2002 — Department of Energy Secretary Spencer Abraham announced today the appointment of Steve Wright as administrator of the Bonneville Power Administration (BPA).

BPA is a federal agency that markets wholesale electrical power, principally from federal dams in the Columbia Basin, and operates high voltage transmission for the region. It is based in Portland, Oregon, and serves Washington, Idaho, Oregon, western Montana and small parts of contiguous states.

“Bonneville is extremely important to maintaining a vital economy and healthy environment in the Pacific Northwest, and I have confidence it will continue to do so under Steve Wright’s direction,” said Secretary Abraham. “Steve exerted outstanding leadership through some of the most turbulent times for the electricity industry and has effectively worked with diverse constituencies in the region,” added Abraham.

Wright has been with the agency for 21 years, beginning in the agency’s conservation department. He has served as acting administrator since November 2000 following the departure of then-Administrator Judi Johansen. Wright’s tenure has spanned some of the region’s biggest energy challenges–including a West Coast energy crisis and the second worst drought recorded in Pacific Northwest history.

Wright said he was particularly honored to have come through the ranks to have the opportunity to lead an institution that is critical to meeting the economic and environmental objectives of Northwest citizens.

“I’m committed to operating BPA as a sound business enterprise, but one whose mission starts with meeting our responsibilities to serve the public. That means striving for strong environmental stewardship, low rates, reliable service and being open to the public’s ideas about how best to use the assets that provide so much value to the Northwest,” Wright said.

Wright began his work at BPA in 1981 shortly after receiving his masters in public affairs from the University of Oregon. Following a stint in the agency’s energy conservation office, he moved to BPA’s D.C. office in 1984.

In 1987, he began managing the agency’s California office, then went back to the D.C. office as manager in 1990. In 1998, he returned to BPA headquarters in Portland as Corporate senior vice president where he had responsibility for public affairs; environment, fish and wildlife; finance and budget; strategic planning; and human resources. He became deputy administrator in 2000, followed shortly by his appointment as acting administrator.

He and his wife, Kathleen, and their three children live in Portland. In addition to his masters, he holds an undergraduate bachelor of arts degree in journalism from Central Michigan University. He is 44 years old.

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