bBonneville Power Administra-tion (BPA) has started public consultations in the US, prior to undertaking a series of changes recommended by the Comprehensive review of the northwest energy system. The year-long Review, convened in 1996 by the governors of Oregon, Washington, Idaho and Montana, was proposed in response to electricity industry restructuring at a national level, and to ensure that the northwest region retains the benefits of Columbia river hydro power.

After the completion of the Review in 1997, the governors set up a Transition Board (TB) to oversee implementation of the Review’s recommendations. According to BPA the recommendations can be divided into five broad categories. These are: •Cost management.

•Future fish and wildlife funding.

•Power markets, revenues and subscription.

•Transmission issues.

•Risk management.

BPA has said that in some of the Review recommendations, categorised under transmission issues such as open access, the establishment of an independent system operator requires changes to BPA’s mandate through the US Congress. However, BPA has been working with the TB on recommendations that do not require legislative action.

BPA, one of the five federal power marketing agencies within the US Department of Energy, is a power wholesaler with more than 150 utility, government and direct service industry customers. It generates US$2.5B annually by marketing electricity from federal hydroelectric plants in the Columbia river basin and one non-federal nuclear power plant, and by charging transmission rates to users of BPA’s high voltage transmission system. BPA’s main service territory is Washington, Oregon, Idaho, a portion of Montana west of the Continental Divide, as well as small portions of Nevada, Wyoming and Utah.

In addition to improving power and transmission facilities, the agency has invested more than $2.5B since 1980 in efforts to restore endangered salmon runs in the Columbia and its tributaries.