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

H.R. 2371, THE BIPARTISAN
WESTERN AREA POWER ADMINISTRATION TRANSPARENCY ACT

Sponsors and Cosponsors (12):
Paul Gosar*,
Kyrsten Sinema*, Andy Biggs, Trent Franks, Ruben Gallego,
Jared Huffman, Doug LaMalfa, Tom McClintock, Martha McSally, Kristi Noem,
Tom O’Halleran, David Schweikert

Dear Colleague,

We urge you to vote yes on H.R. 2371, the Western Area Power Administration Transparency Act.

This good governance bill requires the administrator of the Western Area Power Administration (“WAPA”) to establish a pilot project to increase transparency of WAPA’s costs and rates. Senators Flake, McCain and King have introduced companion legislation in
the form of S.930.

The House Committee on Natural Resources Subcommittee on Water, Power, and Oceans held a

legislative hearing
on this bill on May 18, 2017. During the question and answer period of the hearing, WAPA’s Acting Chief Financial Officer Dennis Sullivan

confirmed the agency supports H.R. 2371
.

WAPA is one of four Power Marketing Administrations that delivers hydropower and related services from federal facilities to nearly 700 preference customers that include federal and state agencies, cities, electric cooperatives, tribes, as well as public utility
and irrigation districts. In total, WAPA markets power from 56 hydropower plants to more than 40,000,000 people in 15 states.

WAPA’s roughly $1 billion annual budget is funded through a combination of direct appropriations and revenues collected from its customers. Over time, differences between budgeted and executed amounts have built up large “unobligated balances.”
A 2015 GAO study found that WAPA’s unobligated balances exceed levels it needs to sustainably execute its mission.  Additionally, fraudulent WAPA spending triggered numerous
audits by the agency’s Inspector General and made several

recent news stories
.

In response to calls for increased transparency, WAPA created an online repository with financial information. While this is a step in the right direction, power customers and Members of Congress have been calling for a more detailed understanding of how
WAPA is spending its money. Establishing this pilot program answers that call and will result in significant savings.

SPECIFIC PROVISIONS

Requires the WAPA Administrator to establish a publically available website containing:

  • Rates charged to customers by power system
  • Amount of energy or capacity sold by power system
  • For headquarters and by region, a detailed accounting of expenditures, capital costs, and staffing
  • Capital expenditures expended including the sources of capital for each investment

Requires an annual summary of:

  • The information on the website described above
  • The total amount of unobligated balances broken down by function and authority
  • Anticipated unobligated balance levels for the next year

Should you have any questions, please contact Jeff Small (Rep. Gosar) at
jeff.small@mail.house.gov
or Michael Wong (Rep. Sinema) at
michael.wong@mail.house.gov
.

Sincerely,

Paul A. Gosar                                                                                                Kyrsten Sinema
Member of Congress                                                                                     Member of Congress

 

Related Legislative Issues

Selected legislative information: Energy, Environment, Natural Resources

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