Opinion: Can Bonneville Power Administration be Saved?

By Tom Karier, Special to The Seattle Times, May 31, 2019.

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.