Snohomish County Public Utility District No. 1

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Customer Service (M-F 8a-5:30p): 425-783-1000

Bonneville Power Administration

The Bonneville Power Administration (BPA), headquartered in Portland, Oregon, 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. Today, the agency sells the power from 31 federal dams and one nuclear power plant. It supplies about half of the electricity used in the Northwest and operates more than three-quarters of the region’s high voltage transmission lines. BPA also is responsible for implementing a regional conservation plan as well as regional fish and wildlife programs.

While BPA is part of the Department of Energy, it is not supported through taxes. It recovers all of its costs through sales of electricity and transmission, repaying the U.S. Treasury in full with interest for any borrowed funds.

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.

The PUD purchases about 80 percent of its power from the BPA. (Click here for current power supply mix.)

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

BPA Residential Exchange Credit

The Residential Exchange Program or “REP” is administered by the Bonneville Power Administration (BPA). The intent of this program is to provide residential and small farm customers of Pacific Northwest utilities with access to low-cost federal power. When BPA determines that a utility qualifies for the program, then certain utility customers are automatically enrolled and receive financial benefits from BPA. The PUD passes along this monthly BPA REP benefit to a specific group of its customers as a rate credit on their monthly power bills. This credit offsets BPA power costs and helps keep rates stable for residential customers.

Here are answers to frequently asked questions about this credit.

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What is the BPA residential exchange program (REP)?

The Northwest Power Act of 1980 created the Residential Exchange Program (REP), administered by the Bonneville Power Administration (BPA). The intent of this program is to provide residential and small farm customers of Pacific Northwest utilities with access to low-cost federal power. BPA’s REP allows participating utilities, like Snohomish PUD, to pass the financial benefits of the low cost federal Columbia River Power System on to certain eligible customers, through a BPA REP benefit or credit. This credit appears on certain PUD customers’ monthly power bills.  

Who is eligible to receive BPA REP benefits?

If you are a PUD customer on the Schedule 7 Residential Rate Schedule and have lived at your address since October 1, 2015, you have likely received the BPA Residential Exchange Program benefit. You can also check your monthly PUD statement. At the top of the statement, the PUD notes a BPA REP rate credit. 

Is eligibility for the BPA REP similar to the PUD’s Income-Qualified Assistance Program?

No. The BPA Residential Exchange Program rate credit is separate and different from the PUD’s Income-Qualified Assistance Program and has different eligibility requirements.  

What is the average amount of the BPA REP rate credit?

The BPA REP rate credit is allocated to the customers under the PUD Schedule 7 Residential Rate and, as of October 1, 2019, is currently $.00073 per kilowatt hour.

When does the BPA REP benefits expire?

The PUD has received REP benefits for its eligible customers on the Schedule 7 Residential Rate since October 1, 2009. BPA conducts a review every two years, and beginning October 1, 2017, BPA has deemed the PUD eligible to continue participating in the REP. At this time REP benefits will run through September 30, 2021, and are at $.00073 per kilowatt-hour for residential customers. 

How does a customer know if he/she is eligible for the BPA REP?

BPA establishes customer eligibility guidelines for the Residential Exchange Program. Every few years, BPA requests the PUD to formally verify that customers are still eligible to receive REP benefits for the meter(s) listed under their PUD account.

Where can I find out more about what types of electric usage meet the BPA criteria to be able to participate in the Residential Exchange Program?

BPA’s customer eligibility guidelines are posted on its website (click here to view). You may also contact us with questions at 425-783-8096 during business hours.