Privatization: Fantasy or Reality?

Fortnightly Magazine - June 1 1995
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Randall Hardy

Administrator

Recharge the Economy with Renewable Energy Tax Credits

Bonneville Power Administration

BPA's central role in the Northwest has no counterpart among the other PMAs proposed for privatization. We hold approximately 45 percent of the market share, serve 85 percent of our customers' load, and provide rate benefits for 85 percent of all Northwest residential consumers.

By contrast, the other PMAs have less than 10 percent of the market in their respective regions. Because of its preeminence in the region, privatization of BPA would have serious ripple effects in the Northwest economy and could destabilize industries with national importance.

Given these circumstances, I offer five strong arguments against BPA privatization:

First, BPA's statutory requirement for cost-based rates remains the best assurance for long-term, low-cost rates in Northwest. Low-cost electric rates form the cornerstone of the region's economy, which has few natural advantages.

Second, as a public institution, BPA is uniquely able to make long-term investments that benefit the region. Development of the Columbia River hydro system occurred primarily because of BPA's ability to incur

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