With a scant few weeks left in its 2011 fiscal year, BPA has determined that budgeted resources for conservation are insufficient to cover what is turning out to be a banner year for conservation. A combination of aggressive BPA retail customer utility conservation acquisition teamed with a robust market response from the regionally offered and third party administered sector specific conservation activities has… well flat out busted the BPA conservation budget. Despite a previously announced “borrowing” of conservation budget resources from future year budgets of $35M, BPA finds themselves $28M or more (the exact amount won’t be known until the fiscal year dust settles) short. NEEC and other regional stakeholders have implored BPA to not solve the problem the old fashioned way – stopping successful conservation projects in their tracks and deferring of delaying customer projects to an unspecified future date (feel free to substitute the phrase roller coaster here). BPA has held separate meetings with its utility customers and with NEEC, public interest stakeholders, and some key industrial customers to discuss the situation and possible solutions. BPA Administrator, Steve Wright has indicated that BPA will manage to budget effectively taking off the table solutions that involve a net increase to BPA’s planned five year conservation spending. Instead BPA is suggesting to interested parties that it let the 2011 projects “run their course” and to keep 2012 budgets at planned levels. If, as anticipated, this results in over budget results, that this overage will be taken out of the conservation budgets in the succeeding biennium. Exactly how individual utility budgets would be affected in the out years is still under discussion.
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