President Clinton has decided to keep the Bonneville Power Administration out of his proposal to sell the government's regional power marketing administrations, Rep. Norm Dicks said Monday.

The news was announced by Vice President Al Gore during a briefing Monday. Dicks said he talked after the briefing with officials from Gore's office and from the White House Office of Management and Budget. He said they assured him the idea of selling BPA "is off the table.""The one thing they still may be looking at is whether to make it a government corporation and maybe refinancing the private debt," said Dicks, D-Wash.

Gore said during the briefing that BPA is different from the other power marketing administrations because it provides more than half of the wholesale electricity in the Pacific Northwest, Dicks' press secretary George Behan said.

The others provide only about 5 percent to 7 percent of their regions' power, Behan said.

Northwest lawmakers appealed to the administration last week to drop BPA from the sale proposal. They warned such a sale could cause wholesale electricity rates in the region to rise as much as 20 percent.