Flake, McCain Introduce Amendment to Increase Transparency for Western Power Customers


Washington, DC – February 1, 2015 – (RealEstateRama) — U.S. Sens. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.) and John McCain (R-Ariz.) today introduced an amendment to the Energy Policy Modernization Act that would require the Western Area Power Administration (WAPA) to establish a pilot project online database of its budgetary costs and rates. The searchable online database would be broken down by region and customer services office in order to increase transparency and accountability for how WAPA manages its funds.

“When consumers are asked to pay higher utility rates, they should be given assurances that their money is being spent on improved services consistent with sound business principles,” said Flake. “The establishment of this online database would help provide the increased transparency that WAPA customers deserve.”

“The Western Area Power Administration should be the poster-child for what can go wrong when federal bureaucracy is left unchecked,” said McCain. “While WAPA’s purported mission is to provide affordable power to all of its customers, the agency has seen its overhead expenses go through the roof in recent years and has unfairly passed on these unnecessary costs to customers throughout rural Arizona in the form of staggeringly high monthly energy bills. Our amendment would increase oversight and transparency of this troubled agency by providing customers with vital information about WAPA’s activities through a new searchable online database. Arizonans deserve to know how their tax dollars are being spent, and this amendment would provide taxpayers the transparency they need to rein-in WAPA’s unnecessary and excessive spending.”

Background: On Oct. 22, 2015, WAPA customers including Irrigation and Electrical Districts Association of Arizona, the Grand Canyon State Electric Cooperative Association, and the Arizona Municipal Power Users Association sent a letter to Flake and McCain expressing their concerns that WAPA has sought to expand the scope of its mission, increased its overhead, and unfairly attempted to pass on costs to its customers. The signed letter can be viewed here.

In response, Flake and McCain sent a letter to Deputy Secretary of the U.S. Department of Energy Elizabeth Sherwood-Randall urging the agency to examine the concerns raised about WAPA’s questionable practices, including the lack of oversight of WAPA’s activities and costs. The signed letter can be viewed here.



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