News Releases

Pacific Northwest Delegation Defeats Rate Hike

Mar 10 2005

PMA proposal in FY06 budget rejected by Senate Budget Committee

Washington, DC – A proposal that would have required power marketing administrations (PMAs), including the Bonneville Power Administration (BPA), to significantly increase rates to consumers was rejected by the Senate Budget Committee, largely through the efforts of Senators from the Pacific Northwest. The budget resolution, passed today by the Senate Budget Committee, did not include revenues associated with the proposal. The resolution, which sets up the framework for federal spending, will now be sent to the full Senate for action.



Senator Mike Crapo (R-Idaho), a member of the Senate Budget Committee, said, “The Senate has clearly rejected the misguided proposal. I commend my colleagues from the Pacific Northwest for working together so effectively to reject this proposal. It demonstrates the strength of a unified Pacific Northwest delegation.”



“The Administration’s proposal to force Bonneville to charge market rates would have cost Northwest ratepayers billions of dollars more for their power, and the Northwest coalition had a responsibility to block that kind of economic poison for our region,” said Senator Ron Wyden (D-Oregon). “This delegation banded together on a bipartisan basis in the best interests of all our constituents.”



Senator Patty Murray (D-Washington) said, “I am pleased that the Senate listened to the needs of Pacific Northwest ratepayers and rejected the Administration’s unfair and short-sighted proposal. This victory is a tribute to the cohesive efforts of the Pacific Northwest delegation.”



“Attacks on BPA seem to be a perennial issue,” Senator Gordon Smith (R-Oregon) said. “But for another year this matter is dead. I’m optimistic that widespread opposition and the leadership of Senators Gregg and Domenici have put the question to rest. If it does ever come up again, I’ll be there to fight it.”



Senator Larry Craig (R-Idaho), said, “I am pleased the Senate agrees that BPA is not in the business of funding the government. I am also pleased that the Senate rejects any notion that BPA is subsidized by the federal government, recognizing, as it should, the continued vitality of the BPA Appropriations Refinancing Act that resolved the subsidy issue in 1996. BPA stands on its own, as it should.”



Senator Maria Cantwell (D-Washington) said, “The Administration's plan would impose a devastating, billion dollar energy tax on the Northwest economy. We sent a message that the Northwest delegation is united, and we will fight tooth and nail to put the breaks on the BPA rate hike plan. I'm pleased we were able to work together so successfully to keep the Administration's proposal out of the Senate budget resolution.”