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BPA Agrees To $3 Billion Settlement

The Bonneville Power Administration has settled a long-running legal battle over how to share the benefits of cheap public hydropower with private utility customers.

The BPA has agreed to pay more than $3 billion to investor-owned utilities over 17 years. 

Water spills at the Bonneville Dam (courtesy BPA, U.S. Dept. of Energy).

Power rates for Bonneville customers will increase by nearly 8 percent starting Oct. 1.

But BPA spokesman Doug Johnson said the rate increase would have been higher without the settlement. Investor-owned utilities will pass the money on to their customers through lower electricity rates.

All six investor-owned utilities in the Northwest have agreed to the settlement. But not all of Bonneville’s publicly owned utilities have signed onto the deal. Portland General Electric is expecting $9 million in the first year of the settlement.

Spokesman Steve Corson says that will save PGE customers 1 percent on their electricity rates come January, but other costs could offset those savings.