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NW Fishletter #374, October 2, 2017

[6] Council Corrects 2016 Fish Costs in Final Report

The Northwest Power and Conservation Council approved its final report on BPA's fish and wildlife costs for fiscal year 2016 at its August meeting, with one important correction.

A public review draft released in June said that BPA fish and wildlife costs were about 25 percent of the power-marketing agency's 2016-2017 wholesale power rate of $33.75/MWh.

"That wasn't right," John Harrison, Council spokesman, told the Council Aug. 15. "The fish and wildlife program actually accounts for about one-third of the wholesale rate."

In a July 20 letter to the Council, BPA said that $167 million in costs had been inadvertently omitted in the financial information provided to the Council. Once included, these costs increase the percentage to about 33 percent of the total, according to a Council staff memorandum.

Bonneville said the most accurate way to characterize the fish and wildlife program's effect on rates is to describe how much lower the rate would be if fish costs were not included.

The revised statement, according to BPA's letter, would read: "Bonneville's 2016-2017 wholesale rate of $33.75 per megawatt-hour would have been about one-third lower if fish and wildlife program costs were not included."

The earlier 25-percent estimate did not include $55 million in operation and maintenance costs of the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, nor $112 million of additional depreciation and amortization "above and beyond what is earmarked in the Cost of Service Analysis as fish-related," Bonneville said in the letter.

The final 2016 Columbia River Basin Fish and Wildlife Program Costs Report--the Council's 16th review of BPA costs--has been corrected. -Laura Berg

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