For immediate release: March 24, 2015
Contact: Kara Lamb, 720-962-7050, firstname.lastname@example.org
WASHINGTON, D.C. — Western Administrator and CEO Mark A. Gabriel presented testimony today to the Water, Power and Oceans Subcommittee of the House Natural Resources Committee. Gabriel’s remarks focused on WAPA’s commitment to continue marketing and delivering clean, renewable, reliable, cost-based federal hydroelectric power and related services to the American public; the organization’s ability to successfully negotiate partner support for alternative financing; and WAPA’s major accomplishments across an evolving energy frontier.
“WAPA demonstrates a positive return to the American people for their investments in our system,” Gabriel said. “More than 40 million Americans from Minnesota to California and Montana to Arizona receive our hydropower annually.”
Gabriel shared an overview of WAPA’s Fiscal Year 2016 budget request of $93.4 million. The FY 2016 budget request represents no change from WAPA’s 2015 budget request. WAPA added no additional staffing to its FY 2016 budget.
“Our appropriation request represents only eight percent of the agency’s total funding sources,” Gabriel said.
Over the past five years, WAPA has returned more than $457 million to the general fund of the U.S. Treasury, and nearly $900 million has been returned to the Reclamation Fund. WAPA accomplishes this through partner support and alternative financing.
One of the most critical needs facing WAPA today is the ability to acquire adequate capital to make infrastructure investments while at the same time maintain affordable services. In 2014, WAPA’s Asset Management Program unveiled the first set of asset risk reports. These data-driven analyses trend condition and risk over time and are included in 10-year plans supporting infrastructure projects and budget requests. Based on these reports, WAPA, in cooperation with its customers, will make capital improvement investments of $150-$250 million per year over the next 10 years.
Gabriel also highlighted major accomplishments of the past year. WAPA’s Transmission Infrastructure Program celebrated completion of its second successful project, the Electric District 5-to-Palo Verde Hub, which connects energy resources and transmission across Arizona, southern California, and southern Nevada. WAPA also issued Boulder Canyon Project final allocations to 59 new customers in the southwest for hydropower marketed out of Hoover Dam. In the Rocky Mountain Region based in Colorado, WAPA completed its Loveland Area Project 2025 Power Marketing Initiative, which will guarantee access to federal hydropower and ensure rate stability well into mid-century for 125 power preference customers across the Rocky Mountain and Great Plains states.
Gabriel emphasized the importance of employee safety and acknowledged the Desert Southwest Region, which recently celebrated four years without a lost-time accident. The region’s program is being emulated across WAPA to improve overall safety consciousness and safe work habits.
Providing clean, renewable, reliable and affordable hydropower, transmission and related services is the heart of both WAPA’s long-standing mission and its 10-year Roadmap to Powering the Energy Frontier.
“Working together with our customers, we are repaying our expenses with interest, ensuring that the beneficiary pays and keeping costs down through sound business practices,” Gabriel said.
- Oral remarks (PDF)
- Written testimony (PDF)
- Information on the hearing, including video recording