The Idaho Public Utilities Commission on Nov. 2 said that a telephonic public hearing for a case involving the exchange of electrical assets between Avista and the Bonneville Power Administration (BPA) will be held on Nov. 7.
According to Avista’s August filing submitted to the commission, under the agreement with BPA, Avista acquired certain tap lines and easements associated with those tap lines, which are described in that agreement as the Four Lakes Tap Line and the Cheney Tap Line – referred to as the facilities. The purchase price for the facilities was $0.
As consideration for the facilities, Avista transferred the Avista Hatwai 230-kV power breaker to BPA under a separate transfer of ownership agreement, Avista added, noting that that asset was selected because the Hatwai 230-kV power breaker was an oddity where an Avista-owned breaker resided in a BPA substation.
Given the federal reliability standards, owning a power breaker in BPA’s substation created burdensome compliance difficulties for Avista and BPA, Avista said. Maintenance and access to the breaker were also becoming increasingly difficult with heightening security precautions, the company said, adding that the power breaker at Hatwai was installed to BPA’s specifications and was an Avista non-standard piece of equipment.
The facilities that Avista is acquiring are tap lines comprised of about 15 miles of BPA’s 115-kV transmission assets in the Airway Heights, Wash., area. Avista added that the acquired assets currently reside within the company’s Balancing Authority Area, are physically and electrically separate from BPA’s main transmission network, and are entirely surrounded by Avista’s transmission system.
The acquired assets provide transmission interconnection and load service to two of BPA’s wholesale utility customers. Avista also noted that it provides network integration transmission service to BPA for service to those two wholesale utility customers. Ownership and maintenance of equipment inside another entity’s station has presented administrative burdens to both parties in their efforts to comply with certain NERC standards, Avista said, adding that the transaction will simplify both parties’ ability to comply with mandatory NERC reliability standards governing the operation and maintenance (O&M) of bulk electric system equipment.
Avista said that the transactions:
- Are necessary to enable both parties to better comply with mandatory reliability standards governing maintenance of bulk electric system equipment
- Eliminate Avista’s ownership of an asset inside one of BPA’s stations, thereby simplifying O&M responsibilities
Among other things, the company said that the transactions will not change rates for service and do not raise the possibility of any rate increases for existing cost-based wholesale power sales customers or transmission customers. The only potential impact on rates is the recovery of costs and expenses of any incremental O&M performed by Avista on the subject facilities, Avista said, adding that such incremental cost and expense of O&M would be offset by reduced O&M as a result of the transfer of certain facilities to BPA.
Avista further stated that the transaction would have no adverse effect on the rates for wholesale power sales, adding that it makes wholesale power sales under its commission-accepted, market-based rate tariff.
The commission, in its Nov. 2 statement, noted that commission approval is required of agreements involving the transfer of property owned by a regulated utility, and that state law requires a public hearing to be held.
Those interested in testifying should call 888-920-7487 a few minutes before the start of the hearing and enter the participant code 6674 832# when prompted, the commission said, adding that written comments are being accepted on the proposal through Nov. 14 (case number AVU-E-18-09).