Grant PUD signs one-year ‘wheeling-charge’ agreement for Basin irrigators

Grant PUD entered into a new one-year agreement Dec. 8 with the Federal Bureau of Reclamation to transport over Grant PUD power lines electricity generated at federal dams for the local irrigation districts who use federally supplied water and power.

The agreement establishes “wheeling charges” – energy-transport/delivery rates – that cover Grant PUD’s cost to provide and maintain the local power lines and other infrastructure necessary to deliver the federal electricity used to pump Columbia Basin Project irrigation water.

The agreement will be in effect January through December 2018. It replaces a six-month agreement requested by the Columbia Basin Irrigation Districts to study the PUD’s cost-of-service calculations. That agreement expires Dec. 31.

The new agreement affirms wheeling rates that will be billed monthly while the Bureau and irrigators continue payment-related discussions and potential for a long-term wheeling agreement with the PUD.

Grant PUD purchased transmission lines from federal Bonneville Power Administration decades ago, but agreed not to charge wheeling fees for 40 years. That contract expired in June. Going forward, Grant PUD will charge to cover its delivery costs, calculated at approximately $800,000 annually.

Roger Sonnichsen, assistant manager of the Quincy Columbia Basin Irrigation District thanked PUD commissioners for the new one-year agreement during the board’s final meeting of the year, Dec. 12.

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