Monday, January 24, 2011

HEA Members Forum Update



February HEA/AEEC Meetings
These meetings will take place in Kenai at the Central Peninsula Offices, 280 Airport Way. Video conferencing is available in the Homer Offices at 3977 Lake Street.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011 (tentative)            

2:00 PM -- Operations and Special Projects
Tuesday, February 8, 2011 

1:00 PM -- Finance Committee
3:00 PM -- AEEC Board Meeting
5:30 PM -- HEA Board Meeting

Check for meeting calendar updates and draft agendas on the HEA website at http://www.homerelectric.com/BoardofDirectorsElections/BoardMeetingInformation/Agendas/tabid/220/Default.aspx.

2011 HEA Board Elections
The HEA Board election season is coming. The application period for candidates usually starts in February and runs through the first week in March (the 5th, last year). Ballots go out to members about a week after that and can be returned through early May. This year David Thomas (District 1), Tim Evans (District 2), and Mike Wiley (District 3) must run if they want to stay on the HEA Board. In preparation HEA Resolutions 45.2011.02 (Appointment of Election Committee) and 45.2011.03 (Voting Eligibility Record Date) were passed at the January 18 HEA/AEEC meetings. There was some discussion of the the need to prepare ballot Initiatives for HEA members to vote on. Apparently certain bylaws changes sought by the Board must be approved by the general HEA membership. further discussion was moved to the February meetings -- more detail on this will follow then.

Now is the time for you to be thinking about how satisfied you are with your district’s HEA Director. Would you like to see him continue on the Board for another 3 year term or would you prefer to elect someone new? Maybe you would even like to run yourself.

HEA/AEEC Proposed Rate Plan -- HEA reply
Since the RCA suspended the HEA/AEEC request for approval of the plan (Order U-10-97, Order No. 1), the cooperative has submitted a 19 page brief in defense of the minimum energy charge. In part it argues that if, as stated by the RCA suspension order, the minimum energy charge is in conflict with Alaska Administrative Code 3 AAC 48.805 the RCA should waive requirements that the new rate plan comply. If you want more detail, this and related documents are available on the RCA website at http://rca.alaska.gov/RCAWeb/Entity/EntityDetails.aspx?id=883fd287-5437-45c3-ac93-6611db2d87b0.

Independent Light $$
There have been no significant developments since our January 6 HEAMF update. Alaska Energy & Electric Cooperative Resolution 01.2011.01 (Approval of Construction Work Plan) was passed at the January 18 HEA/AEEC meetings. Most of the plan's $200 million expense is for the Independent Light project ($180 million). The remaining $10 million is primarily for work on Sterling and Bernice Lake substations. AEEC Resolutions 01.2011.02 and 01.2011.03 amending HEA/AEEC loans and agreements with the National Rural Utilities Cooperative were passed. These are technical changes needed to accommodate a drop in “margins” expected during construction of Independent Light facilities (margin is the difference between an electric  cooperative’s costs and revenues).
  
New Regional Generation and Transmission Coop
HEA/AEEC joined Chugach Electric Association, Matanuska Electric Association, Golden Valley Electric Association, and the City of Seward to form the Alaska Railbelt Cooperative Transmission and Energy Cooperative (ARCTEC). Anchorage Municipal Light and Power declined to participate. The Members Forum has long supported greater cooperation between railbelt utilities. Articles of incorporation were filed with the Division of Corporations, business and Professional Licensing (http://www.commerce.state.ak.us/occ/) on December 23, 2010. ARCTEC is an outgrowth of the Greater Railbelt Energy and Transmission Corporation (GRETC) legislation which failed last year. The objective is to have a mechanism to cooperatively pursue projects that are just too large and costly for a single utility. According to HEA manager Brad Janorschke, there will be a strong emphasis on developing large scale renewable energy sources such as geothermal, hydroelectric, and tidal projects. ARCTEC bylaws are presently being developed. HEA Resolution 45.2011.01 (Appointment of ARCTEC Representatives -- Debbie Debnam and Brad Janorschke) was passed at the January 18 HEA/AEEC meetings.

Grant Lake Small Hydro Project
According to General Manager Janorschke the Alaska Energy Authority has approved $1.1 million of a $1.5 million HEA/AEEC grant request for the Grant lake project. He cautioned the Board that this must also be approved by the Legislature, so it’s not a “done deal” yet. This money would help offset ongoing field studies and permit application efforts. The project continues to be very controversial among Moose Pass residents and some HEA members.

Cook Inlet Tidal Power Pilot Project
According to HEA General Manager Brad Janorschke, a hydrokinetic energy company contacted HEA about possible partnership in some kind of pilot project. This could be some place near the Forelands. The company also appears interested in tidal prospects around Kachemak Bay. Janorschke says he was told they would be in touch again soon with some kind of specific plan.  

AKPIRG Utility Work
The Alaska Public Interest Research Group (AKPIRG) is taking an interest in utility consumer affairs and has recently hired a young woman named Kathleen Cogan to work with railbelt ratepayers. A main main part of her work will involve helping utility ratepayers from Golden Valley Electric Association to Homer Electric Association elect or reelect good people to the utility Boards. Kathleen works out of the Anchorage AKPIRG office but will travel to other railbelt communities on a regular basis. She will visit Homer this week where she can be reached at the Cook Inetkeeper offices.

Better Record Keeping ?
At the January 18 HEA/AEEC meetings Mike Wiley continued to press for more detailed meeting minutes. David Thomas expressed concern that putting too much detail into the minutes could be counterproductive. He especially doesn’t think various Directors’ comments prior to voting on resolutions should be included. While many Directors express resistance to putting specifics in the minutes, Jim Levine agreed with Mike Wiley and moved that, at the very least, topics of comments made by HEA members attending meetings should be noted in minutes. The motion was passed.

Fewer Secrets, At Least
HEA resolution 45.2011.04 (Approval of the 2011 Equity Management Plan) was approved at the January 18 HEA/AEEC meetings. HEA/AEEC filed a petition with the Regulatory Commission of Alaska in November to classify it’s 2010 Equity Management Plan confidential. In December the RCA denied that petition (U-10-85, Order No. 2). According to General Manager Janorschke the Commission will now probably require a copy of the EMP be provided for interested members of the public with only legitimately sensitive information redacted. Hopefully this will also apply to the 2011 EMP. 

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