Saturday, June 12, 2010

HEA Members Forum Update

Rate Creep
On July 1 rates go up .154 of a cent per kWh. According to HEA that's about 97 cents a month for the "average" member. That's better than the 2 percent increase we were expecting -- stay tuned for that one.

Secret Rate Redesign Process
The HEA Board and management have started the process of redesigning how your electric rates are computed. This summer HEA Directors will have "how to" workshops and background documents on the subject. Unfortunately HEAMF requests to participate in the learning process were turned down. In e-mail and telephone contacts with several HEA Directors we urged that the wider membership be informed of this process and provided an overview of what it’s about and how it will unfold. So far management and most Directors don't seem to want ordinary HEA members involved. One thing under review for sure will be the "customer charge." That's the monthly fee all HEA members pay for just being connected to the system. Management has already advised Directors that the present charge is way too low and needs to be increased.

Alternative Energy Smackdown
In his wisdom Governor Parnell vetoed money the Legislature allocated for community natural gas and alternative energy projects for our state. Among these was the $7 million grant for HEA to utilize wind power from the 14.4 MW Kenai Winds project being pursued by APEX energy. Unfortunately for us, at the June 1 special Board meeting HEA General Manager Brad Janorschke told Directors we should give up altogether on trying to integrate wind energy without the $7 million.

Small Hydro Pumpup
On June 1 a special meeting of the HEA Board was sandwiched between the Alaska Electric & Energy Cooperative(AEEC) and HEA Operations Committee meetings to consider Resolution 10-25, allocation of $2 million from the HEA budget for site studies and completion of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) construction permit application process. After a presentation by HEA engineering staff and several minutes of Board discussion the resolution was approved. This came out of the blue with little or no advance notice -- HEA members and organizations with strong interest in the project such as the Kenai Watershed Forum were not made aware of the resolution. If approved, construction cost is estimated at $30 million and the project would produce about 4.5 MW of electricity. Questions remain regarding potential negative impacts to fish and habitat.

Next Week’s HEA Meetings
Tuesday June 15, 2010, Homer HEA Offices (video conferencing available from the Kenai offices).

Closed Board Workshop 12 Noon
Finance Committee Meeting 3:00 PM
Full Board Meeting 5:30 PM

Agendas have not been posted on the HEA website at this writing. Go to the following pages within the next several days to look for meeting and agenda information.