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July/August 2002 Here's your chance to say "No!" to energy price manipulation, What is being proposed

July/August  2002

Here's your chance to say "No!" to energy price manipulation

The federal government is considering changes that could increase your power bill. The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) wants to alter the way utilities buy, sell and transmit electricity. We believe these changes are not needed, would provide no certain benefits, and would lead to rate increases and other risks. 

That’s why Douglas PUD has joined Northwest Power Works, a coalition opposing these proposals in order to protect ratepayers. We need your help in telling the federal government not to make changes in the electricity system that will cost you money!

What is being proposed

FERC is proposing two things that would drastically affect your power rates:

•  One proposal would create a Regional Transmission Organization called “RTO West,” a new bureaucracy that would take over the  power transmission network in seven states. The Bonneville Power Administration (BPA) already serves almost all the Northwest, so RTO West is an unnecessary additional cost.

•  It will be expensive—$82 million to create, $150 million annually to operate, and $200 million in yearly taxes! Northwest residents don’t pay these costs now, but we would under FERC’s plan.

• RTO West would eliminate local control by shifting decision-making from elected officials to an appointed board. 

• FERC’s other proposal would force utilities to buy most of their power in short-term markets, like the system set up in California that is forcing the state close to bankruptcy, then pass the wildly changing prices on to end-use customers.  We don’t think that unpredictable power bills are in your best interest.  Their theory is that this market will stimulate development of new generating resources and drive power prices down.  Experience shows that the only thing driving new private resource development is higher prices.  That is not a good outcome for customers. 

• If you are concerned about rising rates, contact your members of Congress and tell them to stop FERC  changes that will cost you money. For more information, please visit this website:

www.wpuda.org/NWPowerWorks