Quickly access topics of public interest and latest developments in the rapidly changing utility industry that affect multiple aspects of WAPA's mission or services.
STATEMENT ON DOUBLE BUDGETING
"The term "double budgeting" is a misnomer, and WAPA is not charging customers for electric service while, at the same time, receiving federal appropriations for that service. WAPA is committed to working in partnership with its Desert Southwest customers to streamline the manner in which it uses different authorities to accept customer payment and funding, and anticipates discussions on this topic to begin soon."
STATEMENT ABOUT RATES
"There are 10 rate-setting power systems within WAPA and each rate is impacted differently by hydrology and the operation and maintenance costs of WAPA and the generating agencies that operate the dams. As a result, some power systems can experience rate increases while others may benefit from a rate reduction or enjoy flat rates over an extended period. Ultimately, WAPA rates align with what is needed to maintain and operate an affordable, safe, secure and reliable electric system that serves 40 million homes and businesses. Toward that end, WAPA meets with customers throughout the year and carefully considers input to make sound business decisions concerning power rates. WAPA's 10-year capital planning processes ensure that customers vote on what they pay for, including capital investments funded by prepayments for service. WAPA continues to emphasize and improve the transparency of its processes, collaborate with stakeholders, and provide timely information necessary to make informed decisions."
"The demands of operating a complex power delivery system have resulted in some increased spending (such as for physical and cyber security needs and related requirements), but at the same time WAPA continues to identify and implement measures to save money. All WAPA regions benefit from the $22 million saved to date as a result of continuous process improvement activities across the agency."
GOVERNMENT PURCHASe CARD
STATEMENT ON THE PURCHASE CARDS ISSUE
"WAPA recognized the seriousness of the issues identified and instituted a corrective action plan reinforcing management oversight and internal controls."
In August 2014, WAPA initiated an internal audit of our Government Purchase Card program. The GPC is a vital acquisition tool for WAPA to successfully accomplish our core mission 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The internal audits uncovered procedural non-compliance in the WAPA-wide GPC program, mostly weaknesses, however, there were a limited number of incidents of misuse.
WAPA recognized the seriousness of the issues identified and turned them over to the Department of Energy Office of Inspector General. To date, several individuals have received administrative discipline, including some departures. Recently, one employee was indicted on felony charges by the U.S. Attorney. As a result of this audit, WAPA instituted a corrective action plan reinforcing management oversight and internal controls including: updating GPC policy and procedures; launching additional training to cardholders; implementing new tools for management and tracking of purchases; and revising roles and responsibilities of employees to ensure that every dollar spent is appropriate and creates value for our customers.
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Unobligated balances serve as WAPA's main capital funding tool, assuring sufficient funding for WAPA projects and ensure WAPA is in compliance with the Contribution Funds Act and Anti-Deficiency Act. The practice of using unobligated balances has been in place since the founding of the Western Area Power Administration in 1977. WAP A was recently audited by the Government Accountability Office (GAO) in 2015 which found that the unobligated balances practice was managed effectively. The report also recommended that WAPA finalize and implement a strategy to reduce excess funds in one account, which was finalized fall 2016.
The next evolution of energy industry changes and market developments has arrived. With its expansive service territory and strong customer relationships, WAPA is uniquely positioned to collaborate with utility experts and its 681 customers about ongoing changes in the energy landscape. WAPA is using partnership, innovation and collaboration to fulfill its mission and balance the demand for reliable power to support our energy-dependent economy with the shifting makeup of energy resources and emerging technologies. WAPA is addressing market participation on a region-by-region and case-by-case basis.
See WAPA's recent activities in the July 2016 news feature: Multiple market choices open door for robust discussion or learn more about the Mountain West Transmission Group.
WAPA proactively addresses system reliability and contingency planning. Delivering on our mission of marketing federal hydropower throughout 15 states requires us to continually study and analyze operations. We partner with our customers and neighboring utilities with the goal of improving situational awareness and contingency planning for transmission providers and reliability coordinators so they are prepared for a worst-case scenario in real-time conditions.
Read more about WAPA's reliability assurance efforts.