The Bonneville Power Administration and the Northwest Power Planning Council are holding public meetings to discuss how BPA will market power and distribute the benefits of the Federal Columbia River Power System in the Pacific Northwest after 2006.Portland, Oregon – September 17, 2002 [SolarAccess.com] The federal hydrosystem provides billions of dollars of benefits to Pacific Northwest citizens. This public process will build on existing statutes and contracts to refine the allocation of these benefits. “It is important to address this issue now so the responsibilities for serving electric loads in the region are clear,” said BPA Administrator Steve Wright. “Absent this clarity, it is likely that investments in our electricity infrastructure will be inadequate.” The public meetings are taking place during the initial phase of a public process designed to influence BPA’s future. During this initial phase, BPA will gather comments and ideas from BPA customers, constituents and other interested parties. BPA will then develop its own draft proposal considering the comments received and submit the draft proposal to a formal public review process. BPA plans to make a final policy decision on post-2006 service during the spring of 2003. “We have already received some proposals on how to handle these issues,” said Larry Cassidy, chairman of the Northwest Power Planning Council. “However, we want to consider a wider set of perspectives when making our recommendations to Bonneville.” “The best way to ensure that we develop a plan that preserves the value of the Columbia River for the most people is to hear from everyone who has an interest,” added Wright. BPA is a federal agency, under the direction of the U.S. Department of Energy that markets wholesale power and operates and markets transmission services in the Pacific Northwest. BPA provides approximately 45 percent of the region’s power, which comes from 31 federal hydroelectric projects, several nonfederal projects and one nuclear plant. It also provides 75 percent of the region’s high-voltage transmission capacity. Revenues BPA earns help it fulfill its public responsibilities, which include low-cost and reliable power and investments in energy conservation and renewable resources. BPA also funds the region’s effort to protect and rebuild fish and wildlife populations in the Columbia River Basin. The following public meetings will begin with an open house and registration at 6:00 p.m., followed by the formal public meeting at 6:45. Sept. 16, Pasco, Wash., Gold Olympic Room, WestCoast Pasco Hotel, 2525 N 20th Ave. Sept. 19, Missoula, Mont., Room 500, Ruby’s Inn and Convention Ctr., 4825 N. Reserve. Sept. 24, Spokane, Wash., DoubleTree Spokane Valley, 1200 N. Sullivan. Sept. 25, Seattle, Wash., Olympus Room, Mountaineers Building, 300 Third Ave. West. Sept. 26, Boise, Idaho, Regency Room, Owyhee Plaza, 1109 Main St. Sept. 30, Portland, Ore., Room 122, BPA Headquarters, 905 N.E. 11th Ave.