Federal Electric Power:

Western Area Power Administration's Tracy/Livermore Transmission Project

RCED-88-19: Published: Oct 27, 1987. Publicly Released: Oct 27, 1987.

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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO reviewed the Western Area Power Administration's (WAPA) construction of an independent electric power transmission line to the Department of Energy's (DOE) Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory and addressed an electric utility's concerns over the project's propriety.

GAO found that: (1) DOE and WAPA believe that the project will improve the reliability and security of power service to Livermore, which only one utility substation currently serves; (2) WAPA estimated that the project could save DOE from $14.5 million to $47.7 million from 1990 through 2001; (3) the local electric utility believes that WAPA is exceeding its authority in building the line; and (4) the utility also believes that the project will necessitate rate increases for its other customers to cover its losses. GAO also found that: (1) there is no legal basis to question WAPA authority to undertake the project; (2) the line will allow Livermore greater flexibility in obtaining its electric power; and (3) WAPA savings estimates relied on a number of assumptions about power availability and demand that may not materialize.

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