Tuolumne Public Power Agency

Welcome to TPPA's Website!

Tuolumne Public Power Agency (TPPA) is a California state recognized Joint Powers Authority (JPA) formed originally in 1983 to serve low cost electrical energy to local government agencies. Our current members include:
  • The County of Tuolumne
  • The City of Sonora
  • All public schools K-12
  • Columbia Community College
  • Special Districts such as utilities, fire and community service districts
  • Other JPAs

New Melones Power Project
New Melones Power Project

TPPA Documents, Forms and Newsletters

TPPA members:
Access various TPPA documents, forms and newsletters in this section.

History of TPPA

The Flood Control Act of 1962 authorized the construction of the New Melones Project. A provision of that law required that the Counties of Tuolumne and Calaveras be given up to 25% of the power generated from that hydroelectric project. This First Preference Allocation was given in recognition that these two “Counties of Origin” would lose a considerable amount of resources because of the inundation of thousands of acres of land. The power allocation is a way of offsetting the loss in revenues from the flooded lands. This allows for low cost electrical power for public agencies located in Tuolumne County.

In Tuolumne County, a Joint Powers Authority (JPA) was formed so that local government agencies could participate. An agreement was drafted, and originally signed by 26 public agencies, which provided the structural framework for the operation of the TPPA.

TPPA is governed by the County Board of Supervisors which serves as TPPA's Board of Directors. The County Administrative Officer, acts as the Agency Director and assigns the position of Deputy Director to the person who runs the day-to-day operations of TPPA. County Administrative staff, County Treasurer, County Auditor and County Counsel also serve as agents of TPPA.

Several contracts are in place so that power can be received by TPPA. One such contract is with Western Area Power Administration (WAPA). Power is purchased from this federal agency which operates the hydroelectric projects and markets the power. TPPA's original agreement with WAPA, a division of the Department of Energy, was executed in 1982, and, in 2005, was renewed through 2024. WAPA sets the amount of power allocated and the rates it charges for the power, and all other necessary regulations for the delivery of power to a central distribution point.

However, the power purchase contract with WAPA cannot deliver electrical power to each point of use (meter). For that level of power distribution, another agreement is necessary. TPPA entered into an agreement with PG&E for distribution of power from central substations to each meter served. This agreement also began in 1982, and was recently renewed through 2024.

WAPA schedules power through the California Independent System Operator (CA ISO) on behalf of TPPA, which insures TPPA and its members receive a consistent supply of energy when they need it.

In 2012, TPPA's member agencies met to review and revise the original agreement. All TPPA members had their respective boards sign a resolution in favor of an updated JPA. In February of 2013, the amended and restated JPA was authorized and filed by the California Secretary of State. This restructured JPA, among other things, provided for the management of a wider array of energy options; increased the definition of public power recipients to include those entities covered by the Reclamation Act of 1939; and included updated definitions and guidelines for members' reference in an easy to read format.