Kelly, Colleagues Introduce Bipartisan Legislation to Stabilize Electricity Costs in Times of Drought

Today, Arizona Senators Mark Kelly and Kyrsten Sinema, along with Congresswoman Celeste Maloy (R-UT-2), introduced bipartisan legislation to stabilize electricity costs when certain hydropower facilities are forced to cut electricity generation due to drought. The Hydropower Delivery Rate-reduction Offset (HYDRO) Act directs the Western Area Power Administration (WAPA) Administrator to reduce fees paid by utilities if certain hydropower facilities operated by the Bureau of Reclamation do not generate a minimum amount of electricity due to drought.   

As the western U.S. experiences the worst drought in 1,200 years, water shortages have already reduced hydroelectric power generation in the Colorado River Basin by roughly one-third of the pre-drought average. By allowing WAPA to reduce fees paid by utilities who receive electricity generated by Reclamation hydropower facilities, the HYDRO Act would help reduce electricity costs worsened by drought.   

“As Arizona and the West continue to deal with the effects of this historic drought, we must address challenges brought by water shortages head on. While drought reduces hydropower generation, common-sense policies like the HYDRO Act will give us the tools we need to help ensure Arizonans don’t pay more for the electricity they need,” said Sen. Kelly.   

“As record drought conditions impact our state’s ability to produce electricity through hydropower, we’re working to ensure hardworking Arizonans don’t have to foot the bill for higher energy costs,” said Arizona senior Senator Kyrsten Sinema

“I am very excited to lead the HYDRO Act in the House. It will be a great benefit to all hydropower customers in the West who have been experiencing low electricity generation due to the severe and ongoing drought. I know this bipartisan legislation will be a great help in easing the burden for Utah and the other Colorado River Basin states whose electricity is generated by these facilities throughout the region,” said Rep. Maloy


The Colorado River Basin is experiencing the worst drought conditions in 1,200 years, and water shortages are impacting hydropower generation at facilities operated by the Bureau of Reclamation. Hydroelectric power generation in the Colorado River Basin is down by an average of one-third of the pre-drought average. Hydropower production at Glen Canyon Dam, the site of the nation’s second largest man-made reservoir, has decreased by more than 20 percent over 23 consecutive years of drought. The Bureau of Reclamation is the nation’s second largest producer of hydroelectric power, accounting for 23 percent of the hydroelectric generating capacity in the Western U.S.   

Click here for the full bill text.