Rep. Gosar Introduces Bipartisan Bill to Rein In Waste, Fraud and Abuse at the Western Area Power Administration

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Washington, September 20, 2019 | comments
Today, U.S. Congressman Paul A. Gosar, D.D.S. (AZ-04) released the following statement after introducing the Western Area Power Administration Transparency Act:

"The Western Area Power Administration has shown a complete disregard for transparency and accountability. Arizona consumers deserve to know the factors increasing their rates. I look forward to continuing to work with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle and both sides of the Capitol to rid this agency of waste, fraud, and abuse."

Patrick Ledger, CEO of Arizona Electric Power Cooperative, said, “We applaud Congressman Gosar and continue to support congressional oversight efforts to ensure transparency and accountability at WAPA. Enshrining these critical reporting requirements sought in the Transparency Act will provide certainty to rural electric Cooperative customers. We believe that codifying it in law will help guide WAPA’s long term adherence and responsiveness to its ratepayers.” Ledger continued, “The Act is in no way intended to be a criticism of the federal power program, but rather would codify WAPA’s attempts at continuous process improvement.”

Phoenix Attorney Robert Lynch stated, “I am encouraged that the House will again address Western Area Power Administration (WAPA) transparency, having approved its direction to the agency by unanimous consent in the last Congress. As one who represents some of WAPA’s customers, I welcome this Congressional definition of agency/customer transparency that will guide this important relationship in the future.”

Background:
The Western Area Power Administration (WAPA) delivers power from 56 hydropower plants to more than 40 million people across 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.

The Western Area Power Administration Transparency Act:
➢ Requires the WAPA Administrator to establish a publically 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
➢ Requires an annual summary of:
    • The information on the website described above
    • The total amount of unobligated balances broken down by function and authority
    • Anticipated unobligated balance levels for the next year

During the 115th Congress, this legislation passed the House by unanimous consent. 

13 original, bipartisan cosponsors joined Rep. Gosar in introducing this bill including: Reps. Andy Biggs, Ken Buck TJ CoxJared Huffman, Steve King, Ann Kirkpatick, Doug LaMalfa, Debbie Lesko, Ben McAdams, Tom McClintock, Tom O'Halleran, David Schweikert, and Dina Titus.

The text of the House bill can be found HERE, and the Senate companion bill introduced by Senators Martha McSally and Kyrsten Sinema can be found HERE.
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