PORTLAND — The Pacific Northwest's primary wholesale electricity provider plans little change in what it charges public utility districts and private utilities between Oct. 1, 2021 for rates through Sept. 30, 2023.

Bonneville Power Administration, which operates the Columbia-Snake hyrdopower system and one nuclear-generating plant, said on Dec. 1 it will hold power rates "relatively flat" and increase transmission rates by about 11.6%.

The transmission rate hike will have only a modest impact on what consumers pay for power, being just a small fraction of overall expenses that figure in electricity bills. BPA owns and operates more than 15,000 circuit miles of high-voltage power lines and 261 substations, and provides transmission service to more than 300 customers.

Explaining its decision to avoid increasing what it charges for generating power, the wholesaler said, "For several years, BPA has cut expenses to ward off market and operational factors that created upward rate pressure. The commitment to cost-containment has paid off."

BPA’s proposed flat wholesale power rate is a blended average — individual rate impacts may vary based on specific customer-utility factors as will the corresponding retail rates set by BPA’s utility customers.

Overall, BPA produces about one-third of the electricity used in the Pacific Northwest. It provides nearly all the electricity used in Pacific County. PacificPower, a separate corporation, produces most of the electricity used by private customers in Clatsop County.

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