The Bonneville Power Administration has adopted a 9 percent average wholesale power rate increase, as well as an 11 percent spike to transmission rates.The federal power marketing and transmission agency, based near Portland’s Lloyd Center, has significant operations in Vancouver.BPA says its new rates will affect local utilities differently, depending on the amount of power and type of service they purchase. Those utilities will ultimately decide how the rate will impact individual customers and businesses.
The new rates take effect Oct. 1.
Erica Erland, a spokeswoman for Clark Public Utilities, said in an email to The Columbian that “this was an anticipated announcement and the increase will be factored into our 2014 budget planning in the fall.”
Erland said it hasn’t been determined how the increase will affect the utility’s budget, “given that BPA is only a piece of our power supply portfolio.” BPA provides about 57 percent of the utility’s power. Clark also owns a natural-gas fired generating plant, among other sources of power.
Clark Public Utilities provides electricity to nearly all Clark County households and businesses, and water to thousands.
BPA says the transmission rate increases are necessary for improvements to infrastructure and for mandatory compliance and security requirements. The power rates increase stems from higher costs to operate and maintain the federal hydroelectric system, higher costs to fund existing long-term agreements for the fish and wildlife mitigation program and because revenue from selling surplus power has shrunk.