The Bonneville Power Administration (BPA) announced today its rates for fiscal years 2018 and 2019, adopting a 5.4 percent average increase on wholesale power rates which will take effect Oct. 1, 2017. The average transmission rate will see a decrease of 0.7 percent. BPA has attributed the rate increase to a variety of factors, including a less than projected demand for power, lower market prices for surplus power sales and rising costs of compliance with legal mandates.
Utilities are affected differently by the rate increase based on the amount of power and services purchased from BPA. This equates locally to an approximate 3.5 percent increase to Grays Harbor PUD power supply costs or around $3 million over the two year rate period.
“Although any rate adjustment will have an effect locally, we are pleased to see the increase is lower than the originally projected 9 percent,” said PUD General Manager Dave Ward. “Consumer-owned utilities were largely successful in communicating to the BPA that a higher increase would be a burden that public power utilities and their customers could not afford.”
About 78 percent of the PUD’s power resources come from BPA and power supply is the largest cost in the District’s operations and maintenance budget. While the PUD has adopted many internal cost-saving measures, BPA rate increases continue to be a significant challenge.
“Grays Harbor PUD continues to monitor costs internally and reduce spending where it makes sense,” said Chief Financial Officer Kathryn Skolrood. “We will analyze the financial implications of the BPA rate increase and determine how to best minimize the impact on our customers as we enter into 2018 budget discussions.”