KINGMAN – The Western Area Power Authority Transparency Act, which establishes a required reporting system aimed at increasing transparency in the operations of the Western Area Power Administration (WAPA), was passed in the House of Representatives Wednesday.
The bill was introduced by U.S. Congressman Paul A. Gosar, DDS, of Arizona, chairman of the Congressional Western Caucus and the Natural Resources Subcommittee on Energy and Mineral Resources.
“For far too long, the Western Area Power Administration (WAPA) has demonstrated an outright lack of transparency and accountability with regards to costs, rates and expenditures,” Gosar said in a press release. “I am proud to announce that with the bipartisan passage of my bill, the Western Area Power Authority Transparency Act, this unbridled agency’s days of bureaucratic secrecy are over. From this day forward, WAPA will no longer be allowed to rack up millions of dollars in wasteful expenses with the expectation that the American people will foot the bill.”
According to the press release, WAPA is one of four power marketing administrations delivering hydropower from federal facilities to about 700 preference customers including agencies at the federal and state levels, cities, electric cooperatives, tribes and other public utility and irrigation districts.
According to the release, a 2015 study conducted by the Government Accountability Office (GAO) found that, “WAPA’s unobligated balances exceed the levels it needs to execute its mission.”
WAPA subsequently created an online repository which included financial information, however customers and congressional members believed the issue needed to be looked at in more depth.
The bill requires WAPA to create a website available to the public that contains: “rates charged to customers by power system, the amount of energy or capacity sold by power system, for headquarters and by region a detailed accounting of expenditures, capital costs and staffing, and capital expenditures expended including the sources of capital for each investment.
Passage of the bill was applauded by John Wallace, CEO of Grand Canyon State Electric Cooperative, and Patrick Ledger, CEO of Arizona Electric Power Cooperative.