HES buys its wholesale power from the Bonneville Power Administration (BPA) and in turn sells it to its customers in Hermiston. BPA operates a large transmission grid in the Northwest and markets electricity at cost from 31 federally owned dams, one nuclear plant and a large wind energy project. HES receives its power from BPA by wheeling from their lines over the transmission lines of Umatilla Electric Cooperative and through their substations to a distribution voltage level. Thus HES does not own any transmission or substation facilities.
At the same time that HES began operations, BPA increased its rates dramatically (46%) which had a big impact on the public utilities in the Northwest and the projections of HES. There were many reasons for the increase including drought conditions and the high cost of power to fill the void of lost hydro power. Since that time, many efforts have been made to help mitigate this large increase and by the fall of 2003, it appears that the rates from BPA may stabilize which in turn will hopefully stabilize the rates of HES.
To learn more about BPA, go to www.bpa.gov (external link)