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McSally Seeks to Keep Electric Bills Affordable for Arizonans

18 May 2019   Amy Lawrence
U.S. SENATE—Earlier this week, U.S. Senator Martha McSally (R-AZ) sought to keep Arizonans’ energy bills affordable.

McSally chaired a U.S. Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources Subcommittee on Water and Power hearing to examine issues and challenges at the Power Marketing Administrations (PMAs). During the hearing, McSally asked regional power administrators how they will continue to provide reliable, low cost, and carbon-free energy for Arizona and the regions they serve.

“The affordable hydropower delivered by WAPA [Western Area Power Administration] to our cooperative and municipal utilities has helped keep power bills low and allowed for our economy and population to grow,” McSally said. “But, as with all long relationships, there are often rough patches and disagreements. I’m sure this is true at all of the PMAs, but we’ve certainly had some unique issues arise in Desert Southwest. While we don’t always see eye-to-eye with WAPA, we’ve shown how to work through the differences and things have improved in recent years. Can each of you talk a little about where PMA hydro in your regions sits in the overall market, and efforts underway to ensure that the federal hydropower resources remain competitive?”

WAPA Administrator and CEO Mr. Mark Gabriel responded: “We’ve had—certainly in the past six years that I’ve been administrator—making sure that we maintain our costs in line with what’s happening in the industry...The good news for us, with the exception of the California system, our rates are significantly below those in the market. In fact, we are often the price-maker in a market.”

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