Hastings Invites Secretary Chu to Testify on PMA Memorandum that Could Increase Energy Rates for Millions of American Families


WASHINGTON, D.C., April 5, 2012 - Today, House Natural Resources Committee Chairman Doc Hastings (WA-04) sent a letter to Department of Energy (DOE) Secretary Steven Chu inviting him to testify at a Full Committee oversight hearing on Thursday, April 26th regarding concerns raised by Secretary Chu’s recent Memorandum to the Power Marketing Administrations (PMAs). The hearing will be an opportunity for Members of the Natural Resources Committee, which has jurisdiction over the PMAs, to question Secretary Chu on the potential energy cost increases that could result from his Memorandum. The letter also asks for DOE to delay implementation of the Memorandum until proper Congressional oversight and public input occur.

Hastings initially raised concerns that Secretary Chu’s Memorandum would raise energy costs on March 16th as well as in a Subcommittee on Water and Power budget oversight hearing on March 20th with the Administrators of all four PMAs in attendance as witnesses.

The four Power Marketing Administrations are: Bonneville Power Administration; Western Area Power Administration; Southwestern Power Administration; and Southeastern Power Administration.

Click here for a full copy of the letter.

“This oversight hearing is highly necessary in light of numerous concerns over the Memorandum and the impact it could have on increased energy prices. Many consider the Memorandum to change the core mission of the Power Marketing Administrations (PMAs) from agencies providing low-cost hydropower within sound business principles to agencies that will be used to impose experimental schemes designed to pick winners and losers in the energy market while raising energy costs,” wrote Chairman Hastings. “Your Memorandum seeks to dramatically change the PMAs and bluntly implement what seems to be a ‘Washington, DC knows best’ philosophy on ratepayer-financed regional entities that usually work well with their customers. It is troubling that your Memorandum appears to implement a top-down approach that could most certainly impose greater costs and risks that outweigh benefits and could force national directives that would supersede or conflict with existing PMA statutory authority...”

WHAT: Full Committee Oversight Hearing on:

“Increased Electricity Costs for American Families and Small Businesses: The Potential Impacts of the Chu Memorandum”

Witnesses: Secretary of Energy Steven Chu, invited. Other witnesses to be announced.

WHEN: Thursday, April 26, 2012
10:00 A.M.

WHERE: 1324 Hearing Room in the Longworth House Office Building

Visit the Committee Calendar for testimony and additional information, once it is made available. The hearing is open to the public and a live video stream will be broadcast at http://naturalresources.house.gov/live.

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Contact: Jill Strait, Spencer Pederson or Crystal Feldman 202-226-9019

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