Cantwell Slams Trump Administration’s Continued Efforts to Sell off Bonneville Power Administration Assets

Selling off BPA assets would lead to rate increases for Northwest electricity consumers

Washington, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senator Maria Cantwell (D-WA), the top Democrat on the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, slammed the Trump administration’s proposal to sell off Bonneville Power Administration (BPA) power lines and other assets as part of reorganization efforts at the Department of Energy.

In her opening statement, Cantwell stated that, “Some of what the president and his administration have proposed is downright dangerous. At the top of the list is the idea to sell off transmissions from the Bonneville Power Administration and its sister agency, the Tennessee Valley Authority.”

Cantwell also argued that the proposal would hit middle class families in the pocketbook and hinder small business growth across the Northwest.

“Selling off BPA wires and abandoning cost-based rates would raise electricity rates and throttle the Northwest economy,” said Cantwell.

According to the Northwest Power and Conservation Council (NPCC), the president’s proposal could raise electricity rates by as much as 40 percent. The council has compared the proposal to Enron’s manipulation of energy markets in 2000, which cost the Northwest $10 billion when retail prices rose 36 percent.

Due to the effects on ratepayers, Cantwell and Senator Lamar Alexander (R-TN) called on the Trump administration last month to abandon its misguided plan to sell federal transmission lines, including the Tennessee Valley Authority, BPA, and other Power Marketing Administrations. Additionally, last March, Senator Cantwell and a bipartisan group of senators sent a letter to the president opposing his budget proposal to sell the transmission assets of the BPA and encouraged the administration to work with Congress to ensure federal electric transmission and power marketing continue to deliver value to consumers.

BPA markets and transmits power generated at 31 federal hydropower projects, 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 in parts of California, Nevada, Utah, Wyoming, and Montana.