The Sierra Nevada (SN) region manages transmission facilities in California to market power from the Central Valley and Washoe projects. SN also maintains ownership rights to capacity in the Pacific AC Intertie and the California-Oregon Transmission Project, and the Path 15 Upgrade Project. SN operates as a sub-balancing authority under the Sacramento Municipal Utility District.
The University of California at Davis, the City of Redding, Calif., and a Department of Energy research lab are a few of the varied customers that the Sierra Nevada Region serves with reliable hydropower. Whether the need is for lighting campus residence halls or providing power to support scientific research, our goal is to serve customers with reliable power.
The SN region is one of four regions of Western Area Power Administration, a Federal power marketing administration. Western sells wholesale power and bulk wholesale transmission to local utilities as well as Federal end-users. Your electric company gets the power it delivers to consumers from a variety of sources, including wholesale power providers such as Western, purchases and exchanges from neighboring utilities and its own generation. Sierra Nevada employees work around the clock to keep bulk power moving through the interconnected transmission system so that electricity ultimately reaches your home or business.
The SN region carries out Western’s mission to preference customers in northern and central California. Most power that the Region sells is generated by power plants owned and operated by the Bureau of Reclamation from the California Central Valley Project, including those at Shasta, Folsom, Trinity and New Melones dams. We import additional power over Western’s share of the Pacific Northwest-Pacific Southwest Intertie and the California-Oregon Transmission Project—500-kV lines linking northern and central California to the Pacific Northwest. After meeting project use loads, CVP power serves the equivalent of the annual electrical needs of 650,000 Californians. We sell about 5.5 billion kilowatt hoursc of power in an average water year.
Selling and delivering those electrical resources to irrigation districts, joint power agencies, cities and towns, public utility districts, military and Federal research installations, educational institutions and prisons in California is the Sierra Nevada Region’s main business. We also serve these customers by operating and maintaining about 20 substations and more than 850 miles of 69- to 500-kV transmission lines.
In the SN region, we provide our customers with diverse services. For example, we provide technical assistance through the Energy Services Program, such as infrared scanning for energy leaks, efficient lighting or demand-side management, and we help customers plan for future power needs. We also provide scheduling coordinator services-matching loads and supplies for customers-and communicate information to the control area. If customers desire new products and services, we are open to exploring their ideas.
To serve customers, Sierra Nevada employees manage projects; ensure environmental protection; establish and monitor employee safety and system security programs; manage administrative functions, such as property management and information services; schedule power and handle customer billing; analyze hydroelectric resources; ensure system maintenance; administer contracts and set rates; provide technical assistance regarding efficient energy use; and oversee finances and budgeting. Now operating from five duty stations throughout Northern California, including the regional office in Folsom, Calif., we work at the forefront of technological advances and amidst unprecedented change in the electric utility industry.
With many diverse players competing in the electric utility industry to buy and sell power, we will build upon our products and services in the Sierra Nevada Region to meet customer needs. Our goals are to market reliable Central Valley Project power, provide customer services that keep pace with the new industry and to enhance our ability to repay project obligations. To help achieve these goals, we have taken steps to reduce costs by identifying and developing more effective new products and services.
Eyeing the future
Our future also depends on our interactions with other players in the industry. For instance, cooperative ventures with other California entities are common throughout our service territory.
Being flexible to changes in the industry, enhancing our existing relationships and improving service will shape our future in the Sierra Nevada Region. We look forward to building upon our existing relationships and creating new ones.