There are several reasons why the Bonneville Powr Administration uses combination service rather than firm power service to meet the DSI top quartile demand: (1) if properly designed, combination service can provide adequate power quality for this portion of the DSI demand; (2) environmental impacts and costs to non-DSI consumers would be greater if firm resources, planned and installed for other loads, were increased by the amount of the DSI top quartile; and (3) although combination service imposes costs on the DSIs in the form of periodic interruptions, it saves money for all BPA customers by permitting BPA to take advantage of certain physical features of the Columbia River power system that would otherwise impede rather than facilitate efficiency. These policy reasons are simple; the operational details of combination service are not. Because combination service is complex it is poorly understood, and the cost savings it provides the Northwest are in danger of being lost.
Nonfirm Energy and BPA's Industrial Customers,
58 Wash. L. Rev.
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