The PUD purchases about 85 to 90 percent of its power from the Bonneville Power Administration (BPA). It is an agency of the federal government (part of the U.S. Department of Energy) that was created by Congress in 1937 to market the electricity generated by Bonneville and Grand Coulee dams. Since then, the agency has grown to be responsible for selling the power from 31 federal dams and one nuclear power plant. BPA also is responsible for implementing a regional conservation plan as well as regional fish and wildlife programs.
In order to market power, BPA has built the nation’s largest network of long-distance, high-voltage transmission lines, which serves as the main power grid for Washington, Oregon, Idaho, and western Montana. Consequently, just about every person, home, and business in the Pacific Northwest relies on BPA in some form.
BPA sells wholesale electricity to 149 customers, which includes public and private utilities and some large industries, mostly aluminum factories. Snohomish County PUD purchases more electricity from BPA than any other of its utility customers.