Monday, February 21, 2011

HEA Member Forum Update

March 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, March 1, 2011 (tentative)           
2:00 PM -- Operations and Special Projects

Tuesday, March 8, 2011
1:00 PM -- Finance Committee
3:00 PM -- AEEC Board Meeting
5:30 PM -- HEA Board Meeting

Agendas are usually available the day before meetings. There are sometimes last minute changes in the meeting schedule. Check for updates and draft agendas on the HEA website at http://www.homerelectric.com/BoardofDirectorsElections/BoardMeetingInformation/Agendas/tabid/220/Default.aspx.

2011 HEA Board Elections
How satisfied you are with your HEA district’s HEA Director? Do you want to him to serve another 3 year term or would you prefer to elect someone new? Maybe you would even like to run yourself. Members interested in being on the ballot must fill out a candidacy packet and gather at least 15 signatures from valid Homer Electric members living in his or her district. Packets are available at HEA offices in Kenai and Homer and on-line at www.homerelectric.com. The deadline to submit them is 5 PM on March 4, 2011.

Remember, Directors are elected by district -- you can only run or vote for a candidate in the district where you live. This year incumbents David Thomas (District 1, Kenai-Nikiski), Tim Evans (District 2, Soldotna –Sterling - Kasilof), and Mike Wiley (District 3, Ninilchik-Homer-Seldovia) must run to stay on the HEA Board. District boundaries were changed recently -- if you aren't sure of your district, maps are available on-line at www.homerelectric.com/Board of Directors & Elections/District Map.

Ballots will be mailed to you on April 1, 2011. They can be returned by mail or you can vote in person at the HEA annual meeting on May 5 at the Soldotna High School. There will be no ballot propositions included on this year's ballot.

Comment on Net Metering Interconnection Rules by March 11
Since March 2009 the Regulatory Commission of Alaska (RCA) has been considering potential rules governing interconnection of solar arrays, wind turbines and other customer owned generation technology to electric utility systems (Docket R-09-2). Your final opportunity for input has been scheduled and the deadline for comment is 4:00 PM on March 11, 2011. Comments may be submitted via the Internet or by mail. Following a number of technical conferences and public comment periods RCA staff recently produced draft regulations for possible adoption (attached). Unfortunately, utilities in other states have sometimes made such rules unnecessarily burdensome as a way to discourage net metering. While the RCA staff proposal doesn't seem aimed at doing so, some people feel its insurance and disconnect location requirements might impose costs that would render some net metering installations unaffordable. You can find more information and follow this issue by visiting http://rca.alaska.gov/RCAWeb/WhatsNew/PublicNoticesComments.aspx at the RCA website.




Support the Regulatory Commission of Alaska (RCA)
The RCA is the main agency looking out for utility ratepayers interests but it's scheduled to terminate on June 30, 2011 unless the present Alaska Legislature votes to keep it going. In it's October 16, 2010 audit report the Legislative Budget and Audit Committee found that the RCA does indeed fulfill an important public need and so recommends that it be extended through June 30, 2019. Go to http://www.legaudit.state.ak.us/pages/audits/2011/pdf/20067rpt.pdf for copy of the report. HB 24 (Extend Regulatory Commission of Alaska Sunset) has been introduced in the State House and referred to Labor and Commerce & Finance Committees. It wouldn't hurt to contact some key Legislators and put in a good word for passage of HB 24 to extend the RCA.

Finance Committee
Co-Chairmen:  Representative_Bill_Stoltze ( email at @ ) legis.state.ak.us
Co-Chairmen: Representative_Bill_Thomas ( email at @ ) legis.state.ak.us
Vice-Chair: Representative_Anna_Fairclough ( email at @ ) legis.state.ak.us

Labor & Commerce Committee
Chairman: Representative_Kurt_Olson ( email at @ ) legis.state.ak.us
Vice-Chair: Representative_Craig_Johnson ( email at @ ) legis.state.ak.us
Member: Representative_Paul_Seaton ( email at @ ) legis.state.ak.us

HEA/AEEC Proposed Rate Plan
The RCA has scheduled a hearing on HEA's proposed rate plan for Oct. 24 at 9 a.m. in Anchorage. There will be no interim rate change, as originally requested by HEA. You will see the change in your bill when and if the plan is approved by the RCA. Land's End Acquisition Corporation filed a request to intervene (formally participate) in the process and HEA filed a motion opposing that. The RCA has not decided whether or not to approve Land's End's request. Land's End's John Faulkner contends HEA hasn't adequately explained the need for or specific details of the proposed rate changes. 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 the January 23 HEAMF update. Work at all sites is progressing more or less as planned. Alaska Energy & Electric Cooperative Resolutions 01.2011.05 (Procurement of Emergency Diesel Generator),  01.2011.06 (Procurement of Water Treatment Equipment), and 01.2011.07 (Wholesale Power and Resource Agreement Amendment were approved at the February 8 HEA/AEEC meetings.
 
Alaska Railbelt Cooperative Transmission and Energy Cooperative (ARCTEC)
This newly formed collaboration between HEA, Chugach Electric Association, Matanuska Electric Association, Golden Valley Electric Association, and the City of Seward has developed a draft $91,500,000 Capital Budget Request for state funding.

Bradley Lake/Battle Creek Diversion (increase power output) $20,000,000
Mount Spurr Geothermal Commercial Well Test $6,000,000
Seward Power Plant Integration $4,000,000
Assorted Transmission Line Upgrades and Repairs $56,500,000
Railbelt Integration of Renewables Scoping Study $5,000,000

According the HEA General Manager Brad Janorschke, ARCTEC's number one priority is the Susitna hydroelectric project, number two being ORMAT's Mt. Spurr geothermal project.

What About Smaller Renewable Energy Projects?
At the February 8 HEA/AEEC meetings Director Bill Fry Questioned General Manager Janorschke about the apparent slow pace of the cooperative's embrace of small scale renewable energy projects. Directors Jim Levine and Tim Evans added their voices to Fry's question, while Director Mike Wiley expressed his own desire to see more focus on energy efficiency and conservation. Janorschke reviewed the continuing effort to move forward with the Grant Lake small hydroelectric project through expanded studies and design modifications, in part based upon concerns raised by opponents of the the plan. For example, recent design modifications could result in reduction of dam height and minimization of lake level fluctuations to eleven feet. He also told Directors that HEA remains open to participation in potential tidal power pilot projects. On the other hand, it was clear from this discussion that Janorschke continues to have a negative view of wind projects such as Fire Island and Kenai Winds. Director Evans asked if ARCTEC might help with smaller projects but Janorschke and Director Debbie Debnam didn't think it was likely. In the end, it was decided to add the issue of renewable energy and energy efficiency/conservation to the agenda for the upcoming strategic planning session this spring.

2011 Financial Audit
HEA/AEEC will be going through auditing this month. Results will be reported to the Board in March. Contact Finance Director Carrie Buckley at cbuckley ( email at @ ) homerelectric.com for more information on this process.

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