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Slice of the System

July 1, 1998 Public Meeting

Portland Airport Sheraton Hotel

A. Introduction

About 20 people attended the fourth public meeting on the Slice of the System Proposal. Angela Wykoff welcomed the participants and stated that the purpose of the meeting was to continue the background and education process for new participants, to continue to clarify the current Public Generating Pool (PGP) Slice proposal, and to gather operational issues and details. At the next meeting on July 23, BPA will try to get the last of the details necessary to clarify the proposal and will introduce some preliminary analysis of the proposal. At the meeting scheduled for August 5, BPA hopes to have a proposal ready and issues determined for Subscription and the Rate Case. A decision on the Slice Proposal must be made by September 1, so BPA will try to stick to this schedule as much as possible. [Note: The August 5th meeting was rescheduled to August 7th, and an additional meeting was scheduled on August 19th. See Schedule.]

Wykoff reviewed the list of handouts available at the meeting:

Wykoff also noted that the Transmission Business Line has some concerns about how Slice could be implemented. Wykoff will ask a Transmission Business Line representative to attend the July 23 Slice meeting.

B. Comments on the PGP Proposal

BPA revised the Slice proposal worksheet (Handout No. 1) based on discussion at the June 19 meeting. There was little or no discussion of those revisions. Discussion proceeded on new topics in the handout. A summary of the discussion under each section follows. Questions mostly were directed to those representing the PGP proposal.


Deanna Phillips (BPA) raised a number of operational questions. She stated that the costs of a dynamic vs. a scheduled product could be different because of the need for communication system improvements. Various PGP representatives clarified that PGP purchasers envision two versions of Slice: one operated by dynamic signal and the other by schedule. Phillips asked about the obligation to carry 5% reserves and if that obligation would be carried by the Slice customer. PGP wants to be able to account for the share of the Slice like any other resources in the Pacific Northwest, so the same ability to carry reserves, or be flexible to use the reserves would apply to Slice also. Some customers may have different needs than others. Customers could also purchase coverage for their obligation from other parties. A PGP representative suggested that the costs for the obligation would be part of negotiations and the Slice obligation would be paid by the Slice purchaser. Phillips pointed out that offering more flexibility may increase BPA's costs as BPA may need different software, and new internal methodologies. Lon Peters also mentioned that operating reserves may not be bundled in a product in the future because of comparability issues, and Slice should just be compared with other power products. Each package would have its own price, not tiered rates, with choices for signaling or scheduling with the customer paying for the costs of communications required. Customers who do not have a Control Area would preschedule the percentage of full capability and would like the option to work with other Control Areas to obtain reserves.

Phillips also explained a pre-existing obligation that the Power Business Line has to provide some services such as reactive power, spinning reserves, imbalance energy, etc. to the Transmission Business Line. The Power Business Line would not be able to remove this obligation. Peters suggested that the Slice customer could buy these services from other providers and this could be negotiated. Tom Miller (BPA) stated that the contract obligation might not transfer to the Slice purchaser and that this is an issue that needs to be addressed. Peters suggested it is an issue for more than the Slice product and is related to standards of conduct, comparability and other issues.

Scheduling and Accounting

Phillips raised the question of covering a contingency on the system such as the loss of WNP-2. Peters said that the Slice purchaser taking by preschedule would cover the contingency. BPA would have to give some notice to the Slice purchaser, with the Slice purchaser having a 24x7 operation staff, or an arrangement with BPA or other entity to cover operations. Some utilities have these types of arrangements now that work well.

Forecast and Data Needs

The participants used Handout No. 2 to discuss data needs. General information under No. 2 Data, is daily average flows and forebay elevations, with some project specific information. BPA does not supply generation by project. Forecasted information about energy above FELCC is sometimes provided to the Corps of Engineers and the Bureau of Reclamation, but not others.

The table on page 2 was discussed. BPA thinks everyone should have the same basic information from which to make their own projections, except in special situations. Others can develop their own forecasts with enough detail to model and form a range of probabilities. BPA's forecast is not always right and BPA is reluctant to have others plan on its forecast and have errors lead to dispute resolution problems. Peters thought if the customers were paying for the information for the forecast, they should receive the forecast. Maureen Flynn (BPA) stated that the customers are not necessarily paying for the forecast, and they can have the model used, just not all the data. Customers expressed a desire to have the information to manage their share of the Slice, and to maximize the performance of the system as required by the Northwest Power Act. Errors in the forecast could be handled in negotiations. Phil Mesa (BPA) said BPA would give information for operations to meet hydraulics objectives, but not operations for marketing. Miller suggested that the discussion identified a difference in philosophy and a need for an understanding of what the Power Act requires. PGP suggested that the table be clarified by BPA to meet BPA's marketing concerns.

C. Mapping Requirements to Slice Percentages

Flynn referred the participants to Handout No. 3. Flynn developed this information to start the discussion on mapping requirements to Slice percentages. Flynn used 5(b) sales to develop this example. The example does not display secondary energy and other issues such as Heavy and Light Load Hour capability. It is a gross comparison only and does not reflect potential differences in how net requirements might be determined in the future. This is one of many possible scenarios. BPA would like to clarify the load and risk obligations that may go away with a Slice purchase. Peters and others suggested that the results of Flynn's analysis are flawed because the assumptions are flawed. Wykoff suggested that the participants are welcome to offer other assumptions to use if these do not meet their needs. Jonah Tsui raised the concern about BPA's remaining Slice being able to meet the energy and capacity needs of the rest of BPA's customers without incurring additional costs.

D. Next Steps

The next public meeting is scheduled for July 23, from 1:00-5:00 p.m. in the Rates Hearing Room.


Archive of content originally posted or last updated on:  July 29, 1998.
Content originally provided by:  Angela Wykoff, BPA Power Business Line.
Content provided by:  Timothy Roberts, Slice Product Manager, 503-230-5450, tcroberts@bpa.gov.
Admin Assistant, Kimberly Brown, 503-230-3639, kabrown@bpa.gov.
Page maintained by:  BPA Web Team.
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