President Signs Hoover Dam Power Allocation Act

President Barack Obama today signed legislation providing for the distribution of hydroelectric power from Hoover Dam for the next half-century.

HR 470, the Hoover Dam Power Allocation Act of 2011, reauthorizes Hoover Dam to continue distributing power through 2067, and sets aside 5% of its electricity for use by new entities, including Native American tribes, irrigation districts, electric cooperatives, and other entities that previously lacked access.

More than 29 million people in Arizona, California, and Nevada rely on power from the Hoover Dam. Under the legislation, the cities of Los Angeles, Glendale, Pasadena, Burbank, Anaheim, Azusa, Banning, Colton, Riverside and Vernon, as well as the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California, Southern California Edison Company, and entities within Arizona and Nevada will continue to have access to electricity from the Hoover Dam.

U.S. Rep. Grace Napolitano, who originally authored the bill, said the legislation reflects a three-year, partisan effort to ensure access to power from Hoover Dam.

“This bill puts the Hoover Dam and its customers on solid footing to purchase inexpensive power for another 50 years, and provides Native Americans and other groups with new opportunities to access the dam’s low-cost electricity,” Napolitano said in a statement earlier this month when the legislation cleared the House. “The Hoover Power Allocation Act carries on the dam’s legacy of providing businesses and families across the West with clean and affordable power.”

Power to be generated from the Hoover Dam was first allocated by Congress in 1934 as the dam was nearing completion. In 1984, Congress re-allocated Hoover power through contracts with state, municipal and utility contractors until 2017. The passage of the Hoover Power Allocation Act reauthorizes the dam from 2017 to 2067 and gives contractors enough time to adjust to the changes.