PUD board is advised to forgo BPA deal

EVERETT — Millions of dollars can be saved in the future if the Snohomish County PUD decides against a proposal that would lower its cost of buying electricity by 10 percent for one year, said Ed Hansen, the PUD’s general manager.

On Tuesday, Hansen proposed that the PUD reject a deal that would see it pay 9.7 percent less for the electricity it buys from the Bonneville Power Administration if it and 71 other public utilities agree to drop a lawsuit against BPA, the Northwest’s federal energy wholesaler.

Instead, the PUD should push ahead with litigation that challenges how BPA distributes the electricity it gets from hydroelectric dams on the Columbia River and from a nuclear power plant, Hansen said.

In his recommendation for rejecting the settlement offer, Hansen said the PUD would only save $12 million that would have to be paid back in the future.

"We don’t think a one-year rate reduction provides fair value for dismissing litigation that could save Snohomish PUD somewhere between $100 million and $300 million over 10 years," Hansen said.

That savings would come if BPA gives public utilities a larger share of the power, he said.

The lawsuit claims that the formula BPA is using to distribute the electricity it generates for the 2002-06 rate period is too favorable to private utilities such as Puget Sound Energy, and that it sets a bad precedent for future rate periods.

BPA spokesman Ed Mosey said the agency hoped its settlement proposal, made in late October, would resolve those differences. It gave the public utilities 90 days from Oct. 24 to decide to settle. If all 72 utilities don’t agree to settle, then rates won’t go down.

"We’re not going to go back into negotiations," Mosey said. "This is the final offer."

BPA’s settlement proposal is supported by most of the Northwest’s congressional delegation, as well as by large energy customers in the PUD’s service area, including Boeing Co. and Kimberly-Clark Corp.

Hansen said PUD commissioners could decide to vote for or against settlement at an upcoming meeting, or could decide to take no action within the 90-day period, which would serve to reject the settlement proposal.

"We haven’t made a decision yet, but we’re certainly concerned about the terms of the settlement that Bonneville is proposing," said Kathy Vaughn, PUD commission chairwoman. "There are more issues here than a one-year rate decrease."

Vaughn said the commission needs to take a hard look at its relationship with BPA and find a better way to lower rates over the long haul.

Reporter Lukas Velush:

425-339-3449 or


Talk to us

More in Local News

Chap Grubb, founder and CEO of second-hand outdoor gear store Rerouted, stands inside his new storefront on Thursday, Sept. 21, 2023, in Gold Bar, Washington. Rerouted began as an entirely online shop that connected buyers and sellers of used gear.  (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
Used outdoor gear shop Rerouted finds a niche in Gold Bar

Seeking to keep good outdoor gear out of landfills, an online reselling business has put down roots in Gold Bar.

Naval Station Everett. (Chuck Taylor / Herald file)
Everett man sentenced to 6 years for cyberstalking ex-wife

Christopher Crawford, 42, was found guilty of sending intimate photos of his ex-wife to adult websites and to colleagues in the Navy.

Snohomish County Executive Dave Somers speaks to the crowd during an opening ceremony at the new PAE2 Amazon Fulfillment Center on Thursday, Sept. 14, 2023, in Arlington, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
Snohomish County executive pitches $1.66B budget

Snohomish County Executive Dave Somers announced his proposed budget Tuesday afternoon. Public comment is slated to begin Oct. 10.

Kristy Carrington, CEO of Providence Swedish of North Puget Sound, speaks during a Healthcare Summit at Everett Community College on Wednesday, Sept. 27, 2023, in Everett, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
Providence, Optum and Premera discuss challenges at Everett summit

Five panelists spoke on labor shortages, high costs and health care barriers Wednesday at Everett Community College.

A salmon leaps out of the water while migrating up Wood Creek on Tuesday, Sept. 26, 2023 in Monroe, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
As Woods Creek railroad trestle comes down, a new doorway for salmon

The trestle was a toxic, physical barrier for salmon since 1939. Now, migrating fish will benefit from its removal.

Mike Bredstrand, who is trying to get back his job with Lake Stevens Public Works, stands in front of the department’s building on Wednesday, Sept. 27, 2023, in Lake Stevens, Washington. Bredstrand believes his firing in July was an unwarranted act of revenge by the city. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
Lake Stevens worker was fired after getting court order against boss

The city has reportedly spent nearly $60,000 on attorney and arbitration fees related to Mike Bredstrand, who wants his job back.

Schools still without water after service restored to Tulalip homes

The affected area included Quil Ceda Elementary, as well as Heritage and Legacy high schools.

A memorial for a 15-year-old shot and killed last week is set up at a bus stop along Harrison Road on Wednesday, Sept. 13, 2023, in Everett, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
Teen boy identified in fatal shooting at Everett bus stop

Bryan Tamayo-Franco, 15, was shot at a Hardeson Road bus stop earlier this month. Police arrested two suspects.

Mt. Baker visible from the summit of Mt. Dickerman on a late summer day in 2017. (Caleb Hutton / The Herald)
Hornets pester hikers on popular Mountain Loop trails

“You cannot out run the stings,” one hiker wrote in a trip report. The Forest Service has posted alerts at two trailheads.

Most Read