Idaho Examiner - Sen. Larry Craig News Releases

Thursday, March 03, 2005

BPA RATE INCREASE EXCLUDED FROM BUDGET

Senate Budget Resolution will not include a proposal for BPA to charge market-based rates

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Idaho Senators Larry Craig and Mike Crapo announced today that they were successful in efforts to block the inclusion of a proposal for Power Marketing Administrations, such as the Bonneville Power Administration, to charge market-based rates. The President’s budget included such a proposal, which would be a shift in the charter of the BPA and result in up to 20 percent annual power rate increases.

Two weeks ago, Craig stated to Deputy Secretary of Energy nominee Clay Sell, “This is a non-starter in Congress. I will not stand idly by and let the Northwest's economy be hamstrung by BPA substantially raising power rates.” Today he expressed, “I am pleased to hear that the Senate Budget Committee will not include this ill-conceived notion in this year’s Resolution. Once again, common sense is prevailing.” Senator Craig is a member of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, which would have to authorize this proposed change.

Senator Mike Crapo, a member of the Senate Budget Committee, noted the chairman of that committee has been apprised of the BPA rate situation. “I appreciate that Budget Committee Chairman Gregg has joined with us in rejecting this proposal,” Crapo said. “I have said from the beginning that this was an ill-advised, unworkable concept based on misinformation about BPA.”

When Power Marketing Administrations were established, they were designed to sell wholesale power at rates to recover their costs, not to make a profit. Because BPA generates most of its power through hydroelectric dams, the Northwest enjoys some of the lowest rates in the nation, helping to grow its economy and create jobs.

Congressman Simpson, a member of the House Budget Committee, is working to exclude the proposal from the House's Budget Resolution.

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