Sending Office: Honorable Paul A. Gosar
Sent By:
Jeff.Small@mail.house.gov

Last call on this letter to the House Committee on the Budget requesting that the Committee reject provisions in the fiscal year (FY) 2018 budget request that aim to sell transmission assets of Power Marketing Administrations (PMAs) within the Department
of Energy (DOE).

Federal power marketed by the PMAs benefits the U.S. Treasury as appropriations are repaid with interest and rates are set to fully recover taxpayer investments. The entire BPA transmission system has generated more than $27 billion in payments to the treasury.
WAPA brought in more than $1.4 billion from fiscal year 2012 to fiscal year 2016. Further, PMA rate increases are paid for by preference customers, not individual taxpayers.

Prevent the Sale of Power Marketing Administration Transmission Assets
PMA’s produce affordable, reliable power that benefit millions of Americans

Deadline TODAY: Friday, June 23rd Noon

Endorsed by: American Public Power Association, National Rural Electric Cooperative Association, Arizona Municipal Power Users’ Association, Buckeye Water Conservation & Drainage District,
Colorado River Energy Distributors Association, Grand Canyon State Electric Cooperative Association, Irrigation & Electrical Districts’ Association of Arizona.

Current Signers (35): Andy Biggs, Earl Blumenauer, Suzanne Bonamici,
Jim Costa, Kevin Cramer, Peter DeFazio, Diana DeGette, Suzan DelBene, Trent Franks,
John Garamendi, Paul Gosar, Raul Grijalva, Denny Heck, Jaime Herrera Beutler,
Jared Huffman, Derek Kilmer, Steve King, Doug LaMalfa, Doug Lamborn,
David Loebsack, Frank Lucas, Doris Matsui, Markwayne Mullin,
Grace F. Napolitano
, Dan Newhouse, Rick Nolan, Tom O’Halleran, Ed Perlmutter,
Collin Peterson, Jared Polis, Scott Tipton, Dina Titus,
Kurt Schrader, Juan Vargas, Tim Walz

Dear Colleague:

Please join us in sending a letter to the House Committee on the Budget requesting that the Committee reject provisions in the fiscal year (FY) 2018 budget request that aim to sell transmission assets of Power Marketing Administrations (PMAs) within the
Department of Energy (DOE).

There are four federal PMAs that help provide affordable electricity service throughout the country by marketing and delivering power. We are troubled that the budget request seeks to divest the transmission assets of three of these PMA’s: Bonneville Power
Administration (BPA), Southwestern Power Administration (SWPA), and Western Area Power Administration (WAPA).

The aforementioned PMAs are essential not just for states and industry, but for rural and local communities as well as tens of millions of Americans who rely on affordable and sustainable power. Combined, the four PMAs furnish electric power service through
more than 1,200 public power utilities and 600 rural electric cooperatives in 34 states.

Federal power marketed by the PMAs benefits the U.S. Treasury as appropriations are repaid with interest and rates are set to fully recover taxpayer investments. The entire BPA transmission system has generated more than $27 billion in payments to the treasury.
WAPA brought in more than $1.4 billion from fiscal year 2012 to fiscal year 2016. Further, PMA rate increases are paid for by preference customers, not individual taxpayers.

The misguided budget proposal would undermine infrastructure goals and sideline investment that could otherwise be used on new projects. Please join us in urging the House Committee on the Budget to reject this shortsighted request.

The full letter is below. To sign on, please email Sean O’Brien in Congressman Newhouse’s office at (SeanV.OBrien@mail.house.gov), Chris Huckleberry in Congressman Schrader’s office at (huck@mail.house.gov)
and Western Caucus Executive Director Jeff Small at (jeff.small@mail.house.gov).

Sincerely,
Dan Newhouse                                                    Kurt Schrader                                             Paul A. Gosar, D.D.S.
Member of Congress                                           Member of Congress                                    Member of Congress

 

June XX, 2017

 

The Honorable Diane Black                                        The Honorable JohnYarmuth
Chairman                                                                     Ranking Member
U.S. House of Representatives                                   U.S. House of Representatives
Committee on the Budget                                           Committee on the Budget
B-234 Longworth HOB                                             134 Cannon HOB
U.S. House of Representatives                                   U.S. House of Representatives
Washington, DC 20515                                                  Washington, DC 20515

 

Dear Chairman Black and Ranking Member Yarmuth,

We write to oppose provisions in the fiscal year (FY) 2018 budget request that aim to sell transmission assets of Power Marketing Administrations (PMAs) within the Department of Energy (DOE). The sale of these assets would result in the federal government
abandoning a successful and efficient solution for providing affordable power in poor and rural communities, thereby creating more problems associated with energy production and delivery as well as retail customer rate changes than this one-time deficit reduction
attempt would solve.

There are four federal PMAs that help provide affordable electricity service throughout the country by marketing and delivering power. We are troubled that the budget request seeks to divest the transmission assets of three of these PMA’s: Bonneville Power
Administration (BPA), Southwestern Power Administration (SWPA), and Western Area Power Administration (WAPA).

The aforementioned PMAs are essential not just for states and industry, but for rural and local communities as well as tens of millions of Americans who rely on affordable and sustainable power. Combined, the four PMAs furnish electric power service through
more than 1,200 public power utilities and 600 rural electric cooperatives in 34 states. If this portion of the proposal were enacted, Congress would be doing a major disservice to millions of rural residents – nearly one-third of whom already live at-or-below
the federal poverty line – by disrupting infrastructure cohesion within sensitive energy markets and causing prices in those regions to rise dramatically.

The American Public Power Association (APPA), the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association (NRECA) and the Grand Canyon State Electric Cooperative Association – amongst other individuals and groups knowledgeable in the area of public power – have
come out against the plan to auction off these PMAs on account of the damaging consequences such action would have for power consumers and producers alike. A joint statement by APPA and NRECA notes that “there is no factual evidence that selling the transmission
assets of the PMAs would result in a more efficient allocation of resources. Rather, it is much more likely that any sale of these assets to private entities would result in attempts by the new owners to charge substantially increased transmission rates to
the PMA customers for the same service they have historically received. These arguments are merely a pretext for actions that would raise electricity costs for millions of people and businesses.”

Though we recognize the fundamental importance that the private sector plays in our economy, including in many energy markets, private ownership of these transmission assets would fail to satisfy the reason that market-based delivery is desirable in the
first place. Costs would inevitably rise, and the federal government would once again find a way to break something in attempting to fix it.

The proposal to sell off PMA assets appears to be based on two misguided notions – the first being the expectation of reduced costs with the private transmission and delivery of energy, and the second relating to which kinds of programs and assets serve
as the proper targets for deficit reduction.  We fully support efforts to improve infrastructure across the nation.  However, we do not believe that the agenda should come at the expense of existing infrastructure – infrastructure that successfully fills a
public niche where markets would be less sustainable.

Finally, we find that the proposal’s stated goal of deficit reduction is not well-served in the sale of these transmission assets because doing so would abdicate one compelling public need in order to only modestly satisfy another. Since PMA costs are paid
solely by customers, and not the federal government, public ownership generates a nonexistent deficit burden. The one-time sale of the assets would temporarily bolster federal coffers, but provide no recurring deficit-reduction benefit. There are countless
other funding streams across the federal government that would, in being eliminated, reduce the deficit without severing a vital public function in the process.

We would like to use this opportunity to remind the Committee that federal power marketed by the PMAs benefits the U.S. Treasury as appropriations are repaid with interest and rates are set to fully recover taxpayer investments. The entire BPA transmission
system has generated more than $27 billion in payments to the treasury. WAPA brought in more than $1.4 billion from fiscal year 2012 to fiscal year 2016. Further, PMA rate increases are paid for by preference customers, not individual taxpayers.

The misguided budget proposal would undermine infrastructure goals and sideline investment that could otherwise be used on new projects. We urge the Committee to reject this shortsighted request.

Sincerely,

Cc:

Department of Energy
Office of Management and Budget
U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Appropriations

 

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