BPA ratepayers include Pacific Northwest consumer-owned utilities, direct-service industries (DSIs), investor-owned utilities (IOUs) and federal agencies, as well as extra-regional customers.
BPA's costs are ultimately passed on to residents and businesses of the PNW through the electric power bills from their local utilities.
Ratepayers in California and other states may also pay portions of BPA's costs, particularly in wet years, because BPA sells power that is surplus to Northwest needs to utilities outside the region.
In order to meet BPA's customers' power needs during dry years, BPA may have to buy power from utilities outside the Northwest. This can increase costs and raise rates to Northwest consumers.
What do BPA's costs include?
BPA does not own any generation facilities (i.e., dams, nuclear, gas, or coal plants). However, BPA is responsible to help pay for the operations, maintenance and repayment of the federal investment of the federal generating facilities. Power rates recover costs associated with generating electricity, including:
- Power-related costs of Northwest federal dams;
- Certain non-federal nuclear projects where BPA has purchased the output;
- Power purchases to meet BPA's customers' needs; and
- BPA's work in:
- fish and wildlife protection;
- energy conservation; and
- renewable resource development.
- Funds to reduce rates to Northwest residents and small farms that receive their electricity from investor-owned utilities (the Residential Exchange Program).
BPA's transmission rates recover all costs to build, operate and maintain BPA's transmission grid.
Public review of BPA's costs
Before beginning a rate proceeding, BPA publicly reviews its expected costs. This cost review is currently conducted under the Integrated Business Review (IBR). The IBR structure is made up of two processes. The first part of the IBR is the Integrated Program Review (IPR), which will address proposed program costs prior to their inclusion in a rate case, and replaced the Power Function Review (PFR), Transmission Programs in Review (PIR), and the Capital Program Review (CPR). The second part of the IBR is the Quarterly Business Review (QBR). This part of the process focuses on cost trends and implications for expense and capital programs.