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No Surplus Snow Means No Surplus Power For BPA To Sell

Northwest Oregon’s dry winter and spring will mean a tight summer for the region’s hydroelectric system.

The Bonneville Power Administration announced Friday that the region is experiencing the fifth driest season since dams were built on the Columbia River.

A lack of snow in the mountains means less water this summer to turn the turbines.

BPA spokeswoman, Katie Pruder-Scruggs says there’ll be plenty of electricity for Northwest customers – but not for anyone else.

Katie Pruder-Scruggs: “We will meet the needs of our customers. The shortfall is that surplus. Like, for instance, in the summertime, the California folks turn their air conditioners on and if we have surplus power, we can sell that at market rates, and use it to keep our rates low here in the Pacific Northwest.”

Pruder-Scruggs says no surplus snow means no surplus power, and no surplus power means nothing to sell.

Without electricity sales, BPA anticipates it may have to raise rates – though ratepayers wouldn’t see those increases for more than two years.  

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