NESPELEM—Lower power generation and power sales at Grand Coulee Dam were the primary factors in a smaller 181-D payment to the Colville Tribes, according to Bonneville Power Administration staff.

The Colville Business Council held a conference call with BPA’s Matt Dau Wednesday during Management and Budget Committee.

This year, the tribal 181-D payment is $1,836 per member, while last year, the payment was $1,950, and M&B Chair Billy Nicholson asked what factors have caused the change.

BPA’s Matt Dau noted a look at past payments shows a ‘strong trend’ between runoff and the 181-D payment amount and last year’s low water resulted in a roughly 5 percent decrease in power generation.

A secondary factor is in the sale of power.

Most of the power is sold on contract, explained Dau, but secondary sales of excess power on the stock market are prone to market shifts.

Dau noted lower natural gas prices, along with more power generated through wind farms, has shifted the price of Grand Coulee Dam power on the stock market lower.

The 181-D payment is result of a lawsuit first filed in 1951 and settled in 1994.

According to Dau, along with internal controls, a tribal contractor reviews the annual calculation.

Payments will be distributed March 28.

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