Senators Oppose Selling Off BPA Assets

Oregon’s U.S. Senators Jeff Merkley and Ron Wyden have joined a group of bipartisan colleagues in opposing a provision in President Trump’s Fiscal Year 2020 budget that would auction off the transmission assets of the Bonneville Power Administration and other power marketing administrations through the Department of Energy.

A release from the Senators, said a letter has been sent to the Director of the Office of Management and Budget, Mick Mulvaney.

The group expressed concern that the proposal would hinder improvements to national infrastructure and increase rates for consumers and local business.

The letter said, “privatization of existing assets will sideline capital that could be used for new infrastructure investments”. The letter said any private entity buying PMA assets will want to recover their investment. The group said “the resulting rate increases would take money out of the pockets of consumers and businesses in our states”.

BPA markets and transmits power generated at 31 federal hydropower plants, the Columbia Generating Station, and several other non-federal power plants. It primarily provides power to rural electric cooperatives, and public power utilities serving consumers throughout the Pacific Northwest. BPA also operates and maintains nearly three-fourths of the high-voltage transmission that takes place throughout Washington, Idaho and Oregon, as well as parts of 5 other states.