​The City of East Grand Forks, Minnesota, the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and the North Dakota School for the Deaf are just some of the customers that rely on WAPA’s Upper Great Plains region for reliable hydropower in the Midwest. Whether the need is for lighting city streets or providing power to local businesses, our goal is to keep our cost-based rates and our customers’ rates competitive in the markets we serve.​​

UGP is one of four regions within Western Area Power Administration, a federal power marketing administration. WAPA sells wholesale power and bulk wholesale transmission to local utilities, which then provide the power to more than 40 million Americans. UGP employees work around the clock to keep bulk power moving through the interconnected transmission system so that electricity ultimately reaches your home or business.​


Upper Great Plains carries out WAPA’s mission in Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska, Iowa and Minnesota. Annually we sell more than 10 billion kilowatt-hours of firm power generated from eight dams and powerplants of the Pick-Sloan Missouri Basin Program—Eastern Division. This power can serve more than 2 million households annually. We deliver this hydropower through 130 substations and across almost 8,000 miles of transmission lines, which are connected with other regional transmission systems and groups. To keep power moving through the system, we rely on dispatchers in our Operations office in Watertown, South Dakota, to reliably deliver the power to our customers in our six-state area. We also rely on maintenance crews to keep the power lines and equipment working properly.​


In Upper Great Plains, we sell and deliver firm hydropower to rural electric cooperatives, cities and towns, public utility districts, irrigation districts, state agencies and Native American tribes. Although our region covers WAPA’s largest geographic service territory—378,000 square miles of sweeping prairie and fertile farmland—we are committed to personally visiting customers at every opportunity. We recognize the importance of understanding our customers’ individual circumstances and valuing their business. In addition to selling generation and maintaining the power system, we offer services tailored to specific customer needs. This includes ensuring customers meet national standards when building power lines and switchyards that interconnect with WAPA facilities. To serve our customers, we work from more than 20 duty stations throughout the region. We keep the power flowing while ensuring environmental protection, employee safety and system security; managing day-to-day administrative tasks; operating and maintaining the transmission system; administering contracts; and setting rates.​


As the electric utility industry continues to experience restructuring and increased competition, we will keep building on our products and services to respond to customers’ changing needs. We continually look for ways to increase customer involvement while eliminating unnecessary requirements. Our customer service representatives go the extra mile to visit face to face with new customers. These representatives inform customers about the services WAPA offers. We also seek ways to more closely partner with customers and the generating agencies to improve reliability and decrease costs. One example is our partnership with Basin Electric, East River Power Cooperative and Northwest Iowa Power Cooperative, which allows each of us to share the use of communication facilities for system control. Enhancing relationships with our customers and improving service will shape our future in Upper Great Plains. We look forward to building upon our existing relationships and creating new ones.​

Last modified on June 23rd, 2023