Two electrical associations oppose a Western Area Power Administration's proposal to increase in its rate for sale of Colorado River hydroelectric power by 46 percent.

The Colorado River Energy Distributors Association and the Utah Municipal Power Agency think the $31 million rate increase, requested from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission on Oct. 9, is excessive.Richard Judd, representing Utah Municipal Power Agency, objects to the increase because he says that certain enviromental costs should not be assessed against power users. He also said that certain Central Utah Project costs related to agriculture were being prematurely charged and that Navajo Dam repair costs should be paid by the federal government, not power users.

"We want to protect our rate payers and keep costs as low as possible," said Judd. The increases should be kept fair, equitable and justifiable, he said.

The Utah Municipal Power Agency includes six member cities - Provo, Nephi, Levan, Spanish Fork, Salem and Manti. The Colorado River energy group is made up of over 100 consumer electric systems which purchase nearly all of the power marketed by the Western Area Power Administration and generated at Colorado River Storage Project facilities which include Glen Canyon Dam and Flaming Gorge Dam.

Judd said the two power user associations also object to being charged for operation and maintenance expenses associated with irrigation and increases in operation expenses resulting from changes in Western Area Power Administrative's accounting procedures. On other operation expenses the two organizations urged the regulatory commission to investigate the justification for them before allowing them to be included in the new rate.

Overall, the associations objected outright to approximately two-thirds of Western's proposed $31 million increase. They may find additional objections to Western's rate increase once more information becomes available, said Judd.

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission will give the Western Area Power Administration a chance to respond to the objections, said Judd.

The commission is expected to allow the two organizations to respond to the power administration's comments and, ultimately, either remand the rate increase or set the date for investigation and hearing.

The commission is not expected to take action, said Judd, until after the first of the year.

In the meantime, said Judd, Western Area Power Administration began assessing its 46 percent rate increase as of Oct. 1, on an interim basis, subject to refund with interest.