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Washington is facing an energy crisis. The record drought, a flawed energy market, and a chronic shortage of supply have all converged to create a once-in-a-lifetime energy crisis that defies simple solutions.

The result is a 46 percent increase announced today by BPA, which will cause ratepayers to pay higher prices for the same electricity as they purchased a year ago. This increase will be especially difficult on those Washingtonians who are least able to afford it – those who are living on fixed incomes.

That said, it could have been worse.

The reason that we were able to avoid projected increases of 250 to 400 percent is because of the shared sacrifice of all Washington ratepayers. From homeowners to irrigators, and from apple growers to aluminum workers our communities have pulled together to get through this difficult time.

I applaud Steve Wright and BPA for their leadership and hard work throughout.

The small consolation for Washington State is that after months of calling for temporary price caps to ease the energy crisis, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) finally agreed to our demands. It is likely that if the FERC had come around sooner, we would be in a better position then we are in today.

I will also continue to encourage conservation and increased production in order to return electric rates to more normal, and affordable levels.