Your power bill and the lower Snake River dams

If you live in the Pacific Northwest, chances are good that your power bill will be going up soon


power bill bpa raise ratesMany Public Utility Districts (PUDs) purchase power from the Bonneville Power Administration (BPA).  BPA is the government agency that markets power produced by the Columbia River Basin hydropower system.  Among the fourteen dams in this system are four on the lower Snake River that have cost the PUD ratepayers billions of dollars while producing a mere 15 cent benefit for every dollar spent.  They are economic losers, producing little power compared to their rising operation and maintenance costs.   The power they do produce comes at a time when there is little demand.  Their power generation infrastructure is aging and needs to be replaced.  These four dams have decimated Snake River salmon and steelhead populations.  One third of BPA power rates now go towards efforts to bring back salmon stocks in the Pacific Northwest that have vanished due to dam construction.  Decades of salmon mitigation efforts on the dams have not recovered any salmon or steelhead runs and there is no end to spending in sight.  Your money continues to be wasted on ineffective salmon recovery efforts.  BPA has raised it’s rates 28% in the past 8 years while prices for wind & solar energy have fallen far below what BPA now charges.  Do you want BPA to continue wasting your money each month, or do you want to speak up and be counted?

BPA is charging more because of the four Lower Snake River Dams


Here’s how you can help

If your power comes from a PUD that buys power from BPA, then it is your right to speak up and demand change from your PUD.  Look below to see a list of those PUD’s.

You can speak up in several ways

The most effective is to attend a commissioner or board meeting at your PUD to get your comments on the public record.   See regular meeting schedules below, but always call ahead to make sure the meeting is still being held and to obtain the address. Your PUD will appreciate a call in advance to let them know you want to make comments and may ask you to come early and for any materials in advance.  You can request to be added to the agenda and that may provide you with a little more than the typical 5 minutes.  If unable to attend in person, please submit comments by e-mail.

What should I say?

We have written up a sheet of Talking Points that you can speak to or read from.  They explain why “mothballing” or placing these four dams into a non-operational status, can help BPA to lower power rates, recover from it’s dismal financial state, and start the recovery of salmon and steelhead.  Make 3-5 copies of the Talking Points so that you may provide them to each commissioner.  Or e-mail the talking points to them.  It would also be helpful to personalize your comments by letting the PUD know that you are a rate-payer in their area and you expect them to be good stewards of your rate dollars as well as endangered salmon and resident killer whales.

That doesn’t sound too difficult, is there anything else I can do?

Proposed federal legislation called House Bill HR 3144 was introduced by Washington Representative Cathy McMorris-Rodgers to keep the lower Snake River dams in place regardless of what the current science says about salmon recovery.  Some PUD’s have issued resolutions that endorse HR 3144.  Given the facts, it is hard to fathom why they would support this bill.  It’s very likely the information they considered came primarily from the strong pro-dam lobby.  In PUD meetings we have attended to present the data from our talking points paper, commissioners have been surprised and intrigued to learn there is more to the story than the pro-dam perspective!  That is why it is so important that ratepayers like you speak up.  You may see below if your PUD supports the legislation.  If they have not, thank them for rejecting it.  If they have, please ask them to reconsider.

If you have questions, you can contact us at or on our Facebook page.  And, if you are able to get to one of the PUD meetings, we’d love to hear how it went!

*High priority PUDs

Utility Phone Meeting Schedule Submit comments for Commissioners / Board Commissioner/Board position on HR 3144?
Asotin County PUD (509) 758-1010 2nd & 4th Tuesday @ 5:30 pm (check Latest News) Supports HR3144
Benton County PUD  (509) 582-2175  Every other Tuesday @ 9 am * Supports HR3144
Central Lincoln PUD  (541) 265-3211  9/26 Newport 10-1:30
10/18 Toledo 10-1:30  Supports HR3144
Clallam PUD (360) 452-9771 Mondays @ 1:30 Supports HR3144
Clark County PUD 360-992-3000 1st & 3rd Tuesday @ 9 am Send Form to Genl Mgr/Commissioners * No “public” position
Clatskanie PUD (503) 728-2163 3rd Wednesday @ 7:00 pm (exception Sept 21 instead) Supports HR3144
Columbia River PUD  (503) 397-1844  3rd Tuesday @ 6:00 pm Supports HR3144
Cowlitz County PUD 360-423-2210 2nd & 4th Tuesday @ 2 pm

Emerald PUD  (541) 746-1583  2x / month @ 5:30 pm Planning to Support
Ferry County PUD No. 1 (509) 775-3325 Next meeting   John Reviewing at Sept 18th meeting, no position yet
Franklin County PUD (509) 547-5591 4th Tuesday @ 1 pm Supports HR3144
Grays Harbor PUD (800) 562-7726 1st and 3rd Monday @ 4:30 pm
Jefferson County PUD (360) 385-5800 1st & 3rd Tuesday 5:00 pm, ck Latest PUD Newsfeed * No position yet
Kittitas County PUD (509) 933-7200 Last Tuesday of ea mo. unless otherwise noted Supports HR3144
Klickitat PUD (509) 773-5891 2nd & 4th Tuesdays @ 2:00 pm * No position yet
Lewis County PUD (360) 740-2435 Every Tuesday @ 10:00 am      Dan
Mason PUD No. 1 (360) 877-5249 2nd & 4th Tuesday @ 1 pm Supports HR3144
Mason PUD No. 3 (360) 426-8255  2x / month @ 10:00 am Supports HR3144
Northern Wasco PUD (541) 296-2226 4th Tuesday @ 6:00 pm  Contact Request Form Supports HR3144
Okanogan PUD  (509) 422-3310 2nd & 4th Mondays @ 2:30 pm
Pacific County PUD (360) 942-2411 1st (in Raymond) & 3rd (in Long Beach) Tuesday @ 1:00 pm Supports HR3144
Skamania County PUD (509) 427-5126 1st & 3rd Monday @ 9:00 am (next 9/5 exception)
Snohomish County PUD 425-783-8611 2017 Schedule bring 8 copies
Tillamook PUD (503) 842-2535 1x / month, Tuesdays @ 6 pm     Nancy  Supports HR3144
Wahkiakum PUD (360) 795-3266 1st and 3rd Tuesday @ 8:30 am bring copies / 5m public comment
Whatcom County PUD (360) 384-4288 2nd & 4th Tuesdays @ 8:00 am


Breach the Lower Snake River Dams to save salmon, orcas, & money