Hundreds of jobs and millions of dollars in utility savings are the big benefits of a new power agreement announced Friday in Northwest Washington.
Bonneville Power Administration officials say the ten-year deal they struck means nearly 90 million dollars in net-benefit to the federal agency. The contract with the big metals company, Alcoa, also means job security for more than 600 workers near Bellingham.
Washington's governor and both its U.S. senators are applauding the deal.
Bonneville Power spokesman Mike Hansen says energy customers will see two key benefits. One is savings.
Hansen says, "This helps keep rates lower than they would’ve been otherwise, and it helps provide for some system stability in case of some sort of disturbance."
If there is a disturbance, the contract allows BPA to use up to ten-percent of Alcoa’s power to meet other obligations. Alcoa also commits to keeping a stable work force and investing 35 million dollars in facility improvements. BPA says the agreement also helps settle a dispute over who benefits from the region's low-cost hydroelectric system.