by Paul Ciampoli
APPA News Director
Posted October 9, 2019
The Western Area Power Administration has returned $281 million to the U.S. Treasury in its fiscal year 2019 return, which includes $266 million returned to the Reclamation Fund, WAPA reported on Oct. 8.
Over the last five years, WAPA has returned $1.8 billion to Treasury.
“Good hydropower conditions and commitment to sound fiscal management have resulted in another healthy return, which supports maintaining or lowering customer rates while still meeting the repayment requirements for the federal power and water infrastructure in our territory,” said Administrator and CEO Mark Gabriel.
Returns to Treasury help repay the original investment, plus interest, for 57 hydroelectric dams and more than 17,000 miles of high-voltage transmission infrastructure owned, operated and maintained by WAPA, among other repayment needs.
WAPA also made progress on its reserve balance strategies, developed in concert with customers, to effectively meet its core mission requirements in the face of contingencies, such as prolonged drought, lapses in appropriations and delayed infrastructure projects, it said.
These strategies provide a sustainable funding source for annual operations and maintenance, capital funding and purchase power and wheeling, WAPA noted.
Annual operations and maintenance funds allow WAPA to sustain operation during emergencies, continuing resolutions or lapses in appropriations, while capital funding allows WAPA to begin multi-year capital projects and provides flexibility with schedule and priority changes.
Purchase power and wheeling reserves strengthen WAPA’s ability to deliver on contractual power commitments to customers during unanticipated adverse conditions where hydropower may not be available.
Reserves balances for capital funding and annual operations and maintenance purposes remain consistent with strategy targets, WAPA said.
And reserves for purchase power and wheeling increased by nearly $80 million over the year and are now nearing the appropriate level to manage costs and risk during a long-term drought or other emergency.
Additional details on WAPA’s purchase power and wheeling program is included in the Department of Energy’s September 2019 Report to Congress.
BPA makes 36th consecutive U.S. Treasury payment
The Bonneville Power Administration on Oct. 3 reported that it made its 36th consecutive U.S. Treasury payment on time and in full.
This year’s $1.06 billion payment brings BPA’s cumulative payments to the Treasury during those 36 years to over $30 billion.