Why You Should Care About BPA

Flip the switch.

No matter where you live or work in the Pacific Northwest, the Bonneville Power Administration (“BPA”) affects how much you pay for power.

Each month, you pay your power bill to your local utility – Seattle City Light or Portland General Electric, for example -- but your utility depends on BPA for power, transmission or other benefits.

Why is BPA so important?

BPA sells electricity from 31 federal dams, a nuclear power plant and other sources, such as wind power. BPA delivers this power via a large network of transmission lines. BPA supplies about 30% of all the power consumed in the Pacific Northwest.

BPA makes cash payments to six power companies in the region for the benefit of their residential and small-farm customers. Seven and a half million people in the region have received these benefits.

BPA has a long-standing relationship with several energy-intensive industries, primarily aluminum smelters, who receive power from BPA.

BPA sells surplus power to the Southwest, typically in summer (the air-conditioning season), and then buys power in winter to meet demand for electricity in the Pacific Northwest. Even if you live in California or Arizona, BPA affects your pocketbook.

BPA pays for the largest single fish and wildlife restoration effort in the United States. Other BPA decisions also affect aspects of the region’s environment. Are you interested in the adoption of incentives to encourage energy efficiency or the potential impact of global warming on the environment and the economy? Then BPA’s actions and policies make a difference to you and many others with diverse interests and goals: Native Americans, farmers, environmental groups, business trade organizations and members of Congress, both inside and outside of the region.