Federal Electric Power:

Effects of Delaying Colorado River Storage Project Irrigation Units

RCED-91-62: Published: Mar 22, 1991. Publicly Released: Apr 25, 1991.

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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO provided information on the effects of the Bureau of Reclamation's and the Department of Energy's (DOE) exclusion from the hydropower rate of irrigation construction costs for certain projects within the Colorado River Storage Project (CRSP).

GAO found that: (1) the exclusion of participating projects' costs resulted in lower CRSP power rates and revenues than would otherwise exist; (2) such exclusion would not materially affect the required repayment of CRSP costs or the ultimate development of water resources within the Upper Colorado River Basin; (3) rescheduling the indefinite projects did not affect the cost recovery of the remaining participating projects, and the U.S. Treasury would recover its investment within the required 50 years; (4) 13 of 19 participating projects, and portions of another project, were or would be constructed; (5) irrigation construction costs for the indefinite participating projects totalled about $1.24 billion, a cost excluded from the power rate calculation; (6) the estimated irrigation construction cost of all authorized Central Utah Project (CUP) units was $1.1 billion; (7) the Bureau and DOE excluded the cost of indefinite participating projects from power rate calculations because power users were concerned that they were paying for projects that would never be built; (8) excluding the estimated costs of indefinite CRSP projects from the power rate calculation was not precluded by law; and (9) none of the information provided to Congress identified which CRSP participating projects were included in the current electric power rate calculation or why some projects were excluded.

Recommendations for Executive Action

  1. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: Interior concurs with the recommendation. The Bureau of Reclamation provided the information to the Subcommittee and the Department of the Interior on September 27, 1992.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of the Interior should direct the Commissioner, Bureau of Reclamation, to provide the Subcommittee on Water, Power and Offshore Energy Resources, House Committee on Interior and Insular Affairs, at the beginning of each calendar year, with a schedule comparing the original estimated cost, indexed for inflation, and the current estimated cost for each CRSP authorized participating project, regardless of the project's construction status.

    Agency Affected: Department of the Interior

  2. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: Interior concurs with the recommendation. The Bureau of Reclamation provided the information to the Subcommittee and to the Department of the Interior on September 27, 1992.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of the Interior should direct the Commissioner, Bureau of Reclamation, to provide the Subcommittee on Water, Power and Offshore Energy Resources, House Committee on Interior and Insular Affairs, at the beginning of each calendar year, with explanations of significant differences between the indexed and current costs.

    Agency Affected: Department of the Interior

  3. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: Interior concurs with the recommendation. The Bureau of Reclamation provided the information to the Subcommittee and to the Department of the Interior on September 27, 1992.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of the Interior should direct the Commissioner, Bureau of Reclamation, to provide the Subcommittee on Water, Power and Offshore Energy Resources, House Committee on Interior and Insular Affairs, at the beginning of each calendar year, with a schedule showing, for each CRSP authorized project, the estimated irrigation construction cost included in the power rate calculation and the estimated irrigation construction cost excluded from the power rate calculation.

    Agency Affected: Department of the Interior

  4. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: Interior concurs with the recommendation. The Bureau of Reclamation provided the information to the Subcommittee and to the Department of the Interior on September 27, 1992.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of the Interior should direct the Commissioner, Bureau of Reclamation, to provide the Subcommittee on Water, Power and Offshore Energy Resources, House Committee on Interior and Insular Affairs, at the beginning of each calendar year, with an explanation for any irrigation construction costs that are excluded from the power rate calculation.

    Agency Affected: Department of the Interior

  5. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: Interior concurs with the recommendation. The Bureau of Reclamation provided the information to the Subcommittee and to the Department of the Interior on September 27, 1992.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of the Interior should direct the Commissioner, Bureau of Reclamation, to provide the Subcommittee on Water, Power and Offshore Energy Resources, House Committee on Interior and Insular Affairs, at the beginning of each calendar year, with an explanation for significant changes in costs included in the power rate calculation that have occurred since the date of the previous schedule provided to the Subcommittee.

    Agency Affected: Department of the Interior

 

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