Down the Line
Dear Co-op Community Members:
There have been several developments on spilling more water for fish in the Columbia and Snake rivers and the impact that has on your power bill.
In May, the Bonneville Power Administration announced the state of Oregon’s court-ordered spill experiment cost $38.6 million in lost hydroelectric generation. After BPA’s spending reductions in fish and wildlife costs and other adjustments, BPA whittled the cost down to $10.2 million. The cost to Lane Electric is nearly $52,000. BPA will finalize the amount in late June. We knew an increase was coming—see the September 2017 Ruralite back page—and we budgeted for it. That in turn, had an impact on the April rate increase.
In addition to the added power cost, the state of Oregon’s lawsuit added an estimated 1,001,743 more metric tons of CO2 into the Pacific Northwest atmosphere. This is equivalent to putting 217,770 more cars on the road for a year! According to the Oregon Global Warming Commission, transportation emissions were already a primary driver of Oregon’s increasing CO2 emissions. This experiment made Oregon’s carbon profile worse without any assurance fish would benefit.
Meanwhile, back in Washington, D.C., the House of Representatives passed H.R. 3144, a bipartisan bill that would call a “timeout” on the spill experiment. During the House floor debate, Oregon Rep. Kurt Schrader (D-Canby) spoke eloquently in support of the common-sense bill. The bill is now in the Senate and faces a long road, but raising the issue for open discussion is worth the effort.
Oregon’s 18 electric co-ops will continue advocating in Congress and Salem for a coherent, common-sense energy policy in Oregon that balances the complex and vital issues of carbon, affordable power and fish passage mitigation. You have a voice on this issue through Lane Electric. Be a part of a grassroots effort by joining ORECA Grassroots on our website (bottom-right at www.LaneElectric.com). You will receive updates and calls to action.
Finally, thank you for coming out to have dinner with us in May at one of the co-op’s five district meetings. All of us at Lane Electric—the board and employees—enjoy being your host and sharing time with you. From Crow to Lowell to Westfir to Dorena and Blue River, we gathered together to be a part of a grassroots tradition. Take another look at the small communities I just listed—each with their own story, yet all connected in the shared co-op community of Lane Electric. The district meetings are fun, social and informative, so make it a habit to attend every year. We look forward to seeing you.
Matt Michel, General Manager