It’s not bankrupt yet, but Bonneville Power Administration has made it clear that it is facing a financial crisis and may be in trouble by 2028. What happens in 2028? In that year Bonneville’s long-term power contracts expire, allowing its customers — Northwest power utilities — to consider selecting a new, cheaper wholesale power provider. No one knows for sure if Northwest utilities will abandon Bonneville, but the fact that it is being discussed is itself a sign of trouble.
For the past twenty years, I had the good fortune of working for governors Gary Locke, Christine Gregoire, and Jay Inslee as a Washington state representative to the Northwest Power and Conservation Council, a four-state body that provides some oversight over Bonneville. From this position I had a front-row seat on regional power planning, salmon recovery and Bonneville’s increasingly precarious financial situation.
Read the full Seattle Times Opinion here.