FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: May 18, 2017
CONTACT: Teresa Plant, 303-328-8225, mediarelations@wapa.gov
or David Russell, 303-962-7056
 
WAPA TESTIFIES ON PROPOSED TRANSPARENCY ACT

LAKEWOOD, Colorado – Acting Chief Financial Officer Dennis Sullivan testified today before the House of Representatives Committee on Natural Resources regarding the proposed legislation, Western Area Power Administration Transparency Act.

“WAPA is committed to sharing information openly and honestly and providing a mechanism for feedback,” Sullivan said. “As an organization, we are accountable for delivering on our mission and responsible for the stewardship of our program and resources for all of our regions’ customers.”

As proposed, H.R. 2371 seeks “… to establish a pilot project, as part of [WAPA’s] continuous process improvement program and to provide increased transparency for customers, to publish on a publicly available website … a database” including rates, financial detail by region and for its headquarters and capital expenditure information. The full text of H.R. 2371 can be read on congress.gov.

During his open remarks, Sullivan addressed the issue of transparency and customer concerns and desire for access to budgetary and planning information. He outlined the proactive steps WAPA has taken to produce and share information to its customers through in-person meetings, group assemblies and The Source website, a one-stop shop for finding operational data and financial information about the organization.

“I believe what has prompted this proposed legislation is that some of our customers want access to more information that outlines the planning and operations at our headquarters office,” Sullivan said. “This is a reasonable request and we are working toward that end with many of our customers through our multiple processes.”

Sullivan pointed to the headquarters staff and budget, stating that it brings value to the customers and the organization by keeping WAPA well-positioned amid changing times in a dynamic industry. The growth in headquarters staff has allowed WAPA to build a Continuous Process Improvement Program that has resulted in $34 million in cost avoidance and cost savings – a 217-percent return on investment.

WAPA has also realigned its efforts, such as its Information Technology reporting structure, shifting budgets and targeted investments. These changes result in increased efficiencies and improved ability to adhere to mandatory compliance standards and laws, including Critical Infrastructure Protection and the Federal Information Technology Acquisition Reform Act.

Sullivan also provided examples of recent efforts to increase customer engagement on budget issues. WAPA is currently working with the Mid-West Electric Consumers Association, its California customer base and the Colorado River Energy Distributors Association to improve transparency. Additionally, WAPA and Arizona customers now have a Customer Technical Committee to address a number of improvement opportunities, including financial transparency. 

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About WAPA: Western Area Power Administration annually markets and transmits more than 25,000 gigawatt hours of clean, renewable power from 56 federal hydroelectric powerplants owned and operated by the Bureau of Reclamation, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and International Boundary and Water Commission in 15 western and central states. It is part of the Department of Energy. Follow us on Twitter @WesternAreaPowr or visit the website at www.wapa.gov.