12/18/2020 Portland Update

The entire staff at NRU is transmitting wishes for a safe and healthy holiday season to all of our readers along with this Update. It has been a long and strange year (understatement!) and we hope that all who we work with and count as friends find ways to connect with those who are most important to them over the holidays!

Given the holidays and short week next week, we are not anticipating distributing a Portland Update until December 31st. My mind struggled to even type that date as I realized it will be 2021 in only a couple weeks!

BPA Decision on Transmission Services Reserves Distribution Clause (RDC)

BPA officially decided to apply the entire $79.7M of Transmission’s FY 2020 Reserves Distribution Clause (RDC) toward debt reduction. As you will recall, that is what NRU recommended in our previously submitted comments.

NRU Staff Profile #1 – Megan Stratman, Rates and Policy Director

As promised last week, we are starting our NRU staff profiles this week and our first profile is of Megan Stratman. Megan is the longest tenured staff member at NRU, and it is fitting to kickoff this series of staff profiles with her.

Megan has been at the forefront of NRU advocacy with BPA for over a dozen years. She has been deeply involved with every facet of BPA related issues and is widely recognized as an expert on most BPA matters. Her areas of expertise include but are not limited to: Regional Dialogue contracts and Tiered Rate Methodology, BPA rate cases, energy efficiency, Energy Imbalance Market, and BPA’s financial health.

Megan graduated from the University of Oregon with degrees in Economics and History.

Please do not hesitate to contact Megan with any questions via her email or by phone at (503) 957-3294.

BPA Administrator Expected to be Named as Early as Next Week

The Department of Energy completed interviews last week with five candidates for the BPA Administrator post. The candidate pool was comprised of three internal candidates and two external candidates. The three internal candidates are current Interim Administrator John Hairston, Senior Vice President of Power Services Joel Cook and Chief Financial Officer Michelle Manary. The external candidates are Mark Gabriel, the current CEO of the Western Area Power Administration and Greg Zerzan, who is currently the principal deputy solicitor at U.S. Department of the Interior.

We have not been able to officially confirm but there is chatter that indicates DOE will choose a permanent administrator for BPA by the end of next week. If a selection is made next week, we will immediately share out who was chosen.

2021 Power Plan – Revised Schedule

At the Northwest Power and Conservation Council meeting this week, staff shared that the 2021 Power Plan has been delayed by a few months. The current schedule now expects the draft Plan to be released in July 2021 and the final in October 2021. NRU staff is staying engaged in ongoing conversations on how the Plan will speak to BPA and its resource acquisitions, including energy efficiency, and will share as preliminary modeling results and subsequent proposals begin rolling out.

BP-22 and TC-22 Update

Things are still in full swing in the BP-22 and TC-22 proceedings, with two full days of clarification this week. We are continuing to analyze the Initial Proposal and brainstorm potential positions to take in our direct case, which we will seek Board guidance on via a webinar in January.

Western Energy Imbalance Market Governance Review Committee Releases its Revised Straw Proposal:

On Monday, the Governance Review Committee (GRC) released its Revised Straw Proposal for changes to governance of the Western EIM. The California ISO Board of Governors and the Western EIM Governing Body tasked the GRC with recommending governance changes in light of the changing and expanding nature of the EIM, especially as Bonneville and public power utilities join or consider joining. The Revised Straw Proposal refines and incorporates stakeholder feedback to the initial Straw Proposal, which the GRC issued in July.

Overall, the Revised Straw Proposal would give the EIM Governing Body more control over Western EIM Governance. This is a positive development, because the Governing Body includes regional representation from the Northwest. The Revised Straw Proposal would also create a formal advisory voice for PMAs and public power entities in some governing deliberations. However, ultimate control over the EIM, including control of its tariff, would remain with the California ISO Board of Directors, which is appointed entirely by the Governor of California.

We are still working with others to analyze the Revised Straw Proposal. NRU will submit comments to the California ISO by the January 22 deadline, and the GRC will create a final proposal for changes to Western EIM governance sometime in 2021. Recall that “governance” is a key consideration for us as we consider BPA’s potential participation in the EIM and/or future markets.

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