The Bonneville Power Administration made its 38th consecutive U.S. Treasury payment Oct. 5, on time and in full. This year’s $1.05 billion payment brings BPA’s cumulative payments to the Treasury to more than $32 billion since 1984.
“This payment, along with actions taken as part of BPA’s Financial Plan, reinforces the agency’s financial strength and demonstrates the agency has met all of its financial commitments,” said the agency in a press release.
This year’s payment to the U.S. Treasury includes $806 million in principal and $187 million in interest. The remaining $56 million covers a variety of other costs, including irrigation assistance that BPA provides to help irrigators repay their share of certain Bureau of Reclamation projects.
“I am pleased to announce our 38th consecutive annual treasury payment,” said Marcus Harris, BPA’s chief financial officer. “In the face of challenges such as Northwest wildfires, severe weather and an ongoing pandemic, BPA’s operational and financial position remain strong as we close out this period and begin a new fiscal year and rate cycle.”
Fiscal year 2021 brought the start of the next phase of the Regional Cooperation Debt program, a multiyear collaboration with Energy Northwest that allows for the extension of low-cost debt. While the first phase of the program focused on repaying high interest federal appropriations, this phase focuses on repaying federal bonds to replenish revolving Treasury borrowing authority. This year, Regional Cooperation Debt was extended, allowing for the early amortization of a like amount of $332 million in U.S. Treasury bonds.
BPA is a self-financed power marketing administration that receives no annual appropriation funding from Congress. Instead, BPA recovers its costs primarily through the sale of electric power and transmission services.
Each year BPA pays back to the U.S. Treasury a portion of the taxpayers’ investment in the Federal Columbia River Power System, which includes the federal hydropower dams that produce renewable electricity and the transmission system. BPA sets its rates to maintain an annual 97.5% probability of making this payment.
In Fiscal Year 2020, BPA’s fish and wildlife costs were $788.1 million, which includes $240.4 million in direct program costs, $174.4 million in lost revenue due to spill, $89.9 million in reimbursable costs, $105.8 million in fixed costs of the program, an estimated $177.6 million in power purchases for fish enhancement, an estimated $66.1 million in amortization and depreciation, about $39.7 million in interest, $5.6 million to support the Northwest Power and Conservation Council (the full Council budget for FY2021 is $11,893,000), $8.7 million for Bureau of Reclamation operation and maintenance, $26.7 million for the Lower Snake River Compensation Plan and about $48.9 million for U.S. Army Corps of Engineers O&M.