For immediate release: Feb. 2, 2015
Contact: Lisa Meiman, 720-962-7050, firstname.lastname@example.org
LAKEWOOD, Colo. — For the fourth consecutive year, Western Area Power Administration’s budget request remained steady to support the agency’s more than $1.1 billion program.
WAPA requested $93.6 million for Fiscal Year 2016 as part of the Department of Energy’s budget submission, Feb. 2. The appropriations request is the same as FY 2015. It has not substantively changed since FY 2012. No additional staff has been requested for FY 2016.
“As a federal agency and also public utility, WAPA is very cost conscious when it comes to our spending. We strive to keep our power costs competitive and at the lowest rates consistent with sound business practices,” said WAPA Administrator and CEO Mark Gabriel. “Unlike most federal agencies, we also repay Treasury almost all of our appropriations every year including interest.”
WAPA anticipates returning $175 million to the U.S. Treasury this fiscal year—nearly double the appropriation request. The money repays annual appropriations and continues the repayment of the federal investment in the hydropower and transmission facilities constructed by the government, with interest.
Even though its program exceeds $1 billion per year, Western is unique as a federal agency in that less than 10 percent of its budget comes from traditional appropriations. Western uses receipts from power marketing and transmission sales to offset annual expenses and receives alternative financing for projects to improve its facilities and maintain reliable energy delivery.
To round out its FY 2016 budget, Western expects about $794 million to come from sales receipts, including in the revolving funds, and another $274 million to come from alternative sources of financing, including advance customer funding.
“Our partnerships with customers are crucial to delivering on our hydropower mission and operating a safe, secure and reliable electric grid in the West,” said Gabriel. “It is these collaborative partnerships that make WAPA successful and effective.”
WAPA’s construction and rehabilitation appropriation request, which funds reinvestment in transmission facilities and other infrastructure, is $4.8 million and will fund four of the agency’s 18 priority construction and rehabilitation projects.
“We will seek $54 million in alternative financing or cash advances through customer partnering efforts to fund the balance of our FY 2016 construction budget,” said Chief Financial Officer Linda Kimberling.
WAPA, customers and stakeholders continue to work together closely on capital planning and asset management to ensure adequate planning and funding for the critical infrastructure that includes more than 17,000 circuit miles of transmission lines and more than 300 substations. WAPA is one of the top 10 transmission providers in the U.S.
“Both Congress and our customers play important roles in keeping WAPA and its valuable assets healthy, strong and reliable. We appreciate their support over the years and look forward to powering the energy frontier,” said Gabriel.
WAPA’s budget by program area
A breakdown of WAPA’s FY 2016 budget for the Construction, Rehabilitation, Operation and Maintenance account includes three areas:
Operations and Maintenance: $41.2 million in net appropriations, $1.7 million in alternative financing and $38 million in receipts and the Colorado River Dam Fund.
Construction and Rehabilitation: $4.8 million appropriations and $53.6 million in alternative financing. There are 18 priority projects receiving FY 2016 funding.
Purchase Power and Wheeling: $0 in appropriations, $213.1 million in alternative financing and $352.8 million in receipts.
The remaining $47.4 million in net appropriations will support WAPA’s program direction, which funds salaries and support services; program direction is also expected to receive $5.3 million in alternative financing and $183.7 million in receipts and the Colorado River Dam Fund.