Most Northwest electricity comes from hydropower generated on the Columbia River which originates in Canada. Meet the BPA employee working with our neighbors to the north to manage river flows.
"Most Northwest electricity comes from hydropower generated on the Columbia River which originates in Canada. Meet the BPA employee working with our neighbors to the north to manage river flows."Maler Annamalai
How would you explain your job to your neighbor, so they not only understand what you do but what BPA does and its role in our region?
On a weekly basis, I coordinate the flow of the Columbia River across the Canada-U.S. border per the Columbia River Treaty, an international treaty signed in the 1960s. A lot goes in to figuring out what those flows are, such as power generation, reducing flood risk and flows for fish.
Another part of my job is forecasting inventory in the U.S system. I forecast how much hydro generation there might be in the next year and a half by simulating expected dam operations across a range of river and weather scenarios. I then match that up with what we think our energy need is going to be from all of the things that require energy in the Northwest, like homes, electric cars, schools, televisions, food processors, manufacturers and farms. Our energy traders, who buy power when we don’t have enough to cover our load and sell it when we have surplus, use my work to do their jobs. Generally, the more accurate our projections are, the better we do at managing our costs.
How does your work support BPA’s mission and strategy?
The treaty operations I coordinate support BPA’s mission of providing reliable power and mitigating wildlife impacts. The inventory studies I produce guide marketing activity. This helps generate revenue and hopefully avoids costly energy purchases, which keeps rates low.
A new or technical aspect of my job that I enjoy is:
I enjoy coordinating and negotiating Canadian operations for U.S. power and fish benefit, as well as keeping abreast of and modeling the various operations at the federal dams in our system. It can be complex but my negotiation skills, passion for hydro operations and detail oriented approach make it fun.
The coolest or most surprising thing about my job is:
The coolest thing about my job is I get to work with our Canadian partners and negotiate flows coming into the U.S. My job is international and my colleagues on the other side of the border are very interesting to work with. While we continue to implement the treaty, the U.S. and Canada have been engaged in negotiations to modernize the treaty since 2018. For people interested, they should check out the U.S. Department of State’s Columbia River Treaty website.
I like working at BPA because:
Our mission of providing clean, renewable energy to the public resonates with me, especially in the face of the climate crisis.
My favorite thing about working and living in the Northwest is:
Being surrounded by so much nature: plants, ocean, mountains and clean air. Plus, I love the rain!
Two things I can’t live without are:
Spicy noodle soup and cats.
Where did you go to school? National University of Singapore and University of Minnesota.
What did you study? Civil engineering.
What attracted you to that/those subject(s)? Engineering is generally a safe field to choose in terms of future job security.
From Dec. 22 until after the Christmas holiday weekend, BPA experienced two dozen outages due to frigid temperatures and blustery winds.
The administrator adopted staff’s proposal for allocating the $500 million Power RDC amount.
Dibble permanently takes over the role on Jan. 15 after serving in an acting capacity since January 2022.