U.S. Congressman Paul A. Gosar, D.D.S. (AZ-04) and Congresswoman Kyrsten Sinema (AZ-02) released the following statements after introducing H.R. 2371, the Western Area Power Administration Transparency Act, which requires the administrator of the Western Area Power Administration (WAPA) to establish a pilot project to increase transparency of costs and rates:
“Despite repeated demands from power customers and Congress, WAPA has refused to be transparent about the agency’s expenditures,” stated Congressman Gosar. “More recently, numerous audits and news reports have surfaced documenting millions of dollars of waste and fraudulent activity. I’m proud to team up with Congresswoman Sinema, Senators Flake and McCain, as well as countless other colleagues and stakeholders in the West to inject some much-needed transparency into the agency.”
“Arizonans expect and deserve a government that works for them and roots out waste, fraud and abuse,” said Congresswoman Sinema. “Nonpartisan audits show WAPA misused millions of dollars, which calls into question the necessity of recent cost and rate increases that get passed on to Arizona families and small businesses. Our bipartisan bill improves transparency and accountability at WAPA. I will continue working with Congressman Gosar and Senators Flake and McCain to move this and other efforts forward.”
The Western Area Power Administration Transparency Act, H.R. 2371, can be found HERE.
Sponsors and Cosponsors: Paul Gosar*, Kyrsten Sinema*, Andy Biggs, Trent Franks, Jared Huffman, Doug LaMalfa, Martha McSally, Kristi Noem, Tom O’Halleran and David Schweikert.
Senators Flake, McCain and King have introduced companion legislation in the form of S.930.
WAPA is one of four Power Marketing Administrations that delivers hydropower and related services from federal facilities to nearly 700 preference customers that include federal and state agencies, cities, electric cooperatives, tribes, as well as public utility and irrigation districts. Specifically, WAPA markets power from 56 hydropower plants to more than 40,000,000 people in 15 states.
A 2015 GAO study found that WAPA’s unobligated balances exceed the levels it needs to execute its mission. Additionally, questionable and potentially fraudulent spending by WAPA triggered numerous audits by the agency’s Inspector General and made several recent news stories.
In response to calls for increased transparency, WAPA created an online repository with financial information. While this is a step in the right direction, power customers and Members of Congress have been calling for a more detailed understanding of how WAPA is spending its money. The establishment of this pilot program answers that call and could result in significant taxpayer savings.
Requires the WAPA Administrator to establish a publicly available website containing:
- Rates charged to customers by power system
- Amount of energy or capacity sold by power system
- For headquarters and by region, a detailed accounting of expenditures, capital costs, and staffing
- Capital expenditures expended including the sources of capital for each investment