Mark Gabriel testifies on Western’s accomplishments, anticipated spending
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: March 22, 2016
CONTACT: Kara Lamb, 720-962-7411, 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 highlighted Western’s continuing commitment to its federal mission through business, technology and organizational excellence, mutually beneficial partnerships and an evolution of services, all supported by the organization’s spending priorities, best practices and FY 2017 appropriations request.
“We need to make sure Western is robust in this era of change, working to keep costs low while strategically managing our spending priorities,” Gabriel said.
On behalf of Western, Gabriel requested authorization to spend a total of $1.2 billion in Fiscal Year 2017. Only 6 percent of the $1.2 billion comes from appropriated dollars. The remainder comes from offsetting collections and alternative financing. As a result, Western’s request represents only $72.8 million in appropriated funds.
Western’s sources of funding ensure its ability to meet both contractual power sale commitments to customers and the securing of the revenue stream necessary to meet federal repayment obligations. These two actions together make it possible for Western to repay appropriated funds invested for power related purposes. As a result, for the past five years, Western has returned more than $1.4 billion to the U.S. Treasury.
“All appropriations being requested for FY 2017 will be repaid to Treasury with interest,” Gabriel said.
Gabriel explained Western’s on-going commitment to its customers to be transparent and inclusive in its business operations. “We continue to engage our customers in operational choices and capital planning efforts holding more than 400 meetings this past year. We also completed more than $230 million in capital projects during FY 2015. In FY 2016, nearly $160 million in capital work is anticipated,” he told the Subcommittee.
In all, Western’s expenses represent approximately 10 percent of the costs included in its customer rates, which remain quite low. For example, Western’s Arizona customers benefit from competitive power rates, less than 2 cents per kilowatt hour. The Colorado River Storage Project firm power rate is 2.962 cents and has remained flat for the last six years. Western also anticipates lowering rates for its largest customer groups in its Upper Great Plains and Rocky Mountain regions.