Rep. Gosar Leads Bipartisan Appropriations Charge to Protect Power Customers from Unnecessary Rate Increases

Mar 15, 2016 Issues: Energy, Public Lands and Water

For Immediate Release

Date: March 15, 2016

Contact: Steven D. Smith

Steven.Smith@mail.house.gov

 

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, Congressman Paul A. Gosar, D.D.S. (AZ-04) released the following statement after submitting multiple bipartisan programmatic requests for fiscal year 2017 Energy and Water Development, and Related Agencies appropriations bill aimed at protecting Western Area Power Administration (WAPA) customers:

“Power customers shouldn’t be forced into 50 year contracts that allow WAPA to impose significant rate increases at any time. WAPA’s departure from traditional contracting terms utilized in other contracts are arbitrary and could result in increased electricity bills being passed on to the people of Arizona. WAPA’s refusal to treat all power customers the same merits Congressional action in order to prevent discrimination and ensure reliable hydropower.”

“Further, the ‘net zero’ funding mechanism for WAPA remains an important tool for the marketing and transmission of hydropower from federal projects in the West. Yet, customers have identified significant growth at headquarters operations and staff in recent years. Despite repeated demands from power customers and Congress, WAPA has refused to be transparent about those costs. Shamefully, WAPA has ignored our requests and has proposed hiring 52 new full-time employees this year. The costs will eventually be passed on to their customers who have little to no say. Today, we took bipartisan action to stop this abuse and ensure accountability within a rogue agency.”

Background

 The WAPA contract termination appropriation’s language request can be found HERE. The programmatic appropriations request to reduce funding for WAPA’s net zero account can be found HERE

Current efforts by WAPA to deny power customers the right to terminate power supply contracts in the context of Hoover Power allocations has departed from several decades of precedent employed in other WAPA service territories. 

Power customers in Arizona have also repeatedly voiced concerns over WAPA’s operations and a lack transparency within the agency’s budget. There is a specific concern that WAPA’s use of the “net zero” budget authority has diminished accountability to Congress and power customers alike.

Congressman Gosar was joined by Representatives Trent Franks, Ruben Gallego, Ann Kirkpatrick, Martha McSally, Matt Salmon, David Schweikert, and Kyrsten Sinema in submitting both these appropriations requests. 

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