Thursday, December 8, 2011

HEA/AEEC Meetings Tuesday, December 13, 2011

10:00 AM -- Operations and Special Projects
1:00 PM -- Finance Committee
3:00 PM -- AEEC Board Meeting
5:30 PM -- HEA Board Meeting

Warning: On the meeting calendar page of the HEA website when you "hover" the cursor over a meeting title an incorrect time is displayed. For example, 9:00 AM will be shown as the Operations Committee starting time. Click on the meeting title to get the right time.

Location: Meetings take place in the Kenai Offices at 280 Airport Way. Video conferencing is available in the Homer Offices at 3977 Lake Street, 907-235-8551. Draft agendas should be available prior to meetings on the HEA website at
. There are sometimes last minute changes in scheduling, so check the website.

Your HEA Account Number is Being Changed
To accommodate the growing number of HEA members all account numbers will gain an additional digit. For example, if your account number was 12345-01 it will now be 12345-001. Check your next HEA statement for your new number and be sure to use it when referring to your account. Don't forget to notify your bank or other bill pay service of the change too. Contact HEA Member Services if you have questions (907-283-5831, 907-235-8551, 800-478-8551).

AEEC Meeting Minutes Now Available
The Alaska Electric & Energy Cooperative, Inc. is HEA's generation and transmission arm. HEA and AEEC Directors are the same people. Most of the major expenses for the Independent Light project have been incurred in the name of AEEC. While HEA Board meeting minutes have been posted for some time, AEEC meeting minutes were not available until now. HEA Members Forum has encouraged HEA staff and Board to post these and other information about AEEC for at least two years. Unfortunately, the minutes do not reflect how individual Directors have voted on various resolutions or include copies of those documents. Without such it is difficult for HEA members to evaluate Director performance but one can at lease get a sense of what transpired and when specific decisions were made. So, Kudos to Directors Debbie Debnam and Jim Levine for helping HEA take this step toward somewhat greater transparency. Go to for the minutes.

Monthly HEA Manager's Reports
Remember that you can download copies of Brad Janorschke's short monthly summary of recent coop developments and actions.  Each report serves as the core of an update presented to Directors at the monthly HEA/AEEC meetings. While not as detailed as the in-person reports, website versions provide some useful information for any HEA member interested in tracking what management has to say about the coop. Go to and click on the date of the report(s) you want.

New HEA Rate Plan Coming January 1
There will be a single energy rate for all residential members with a new 150 kWh minimum charge and the present $11 per month customer charge will increase to $15.  The HEA billing system may not be ready by then to accommodate the new minimum energy charge. In that case HEA will request a waiver from the Regulatory Commission of Alaska to postpone adding the energy minimum until billing software upgrades are completed.
Grant Lake/ Grant Creek Hydroelectric Project
Over the last four years HEA members have been pressing the coop to add renewable technology options to our energy "portfolio." HEA management and engineers have not appeared overly eager, however, dragging their feet particularly hard with respect to wind power.  The controversial Grant Lake/Grant Creek small hydro project is HEA's first serious effort to respond to member desire for renewable energy. The project has been in the news quite a bit -- especially in recent months. Field studies must continue through 2012 and until they are completed a construction license application can't be submitted to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC). Nonetheless, Kenai Hydro (HEA) recently submitted a grant request to the Alaska Energy Authority for construction money. That strikes some HEA members as proof that management plans to proceed with the project regardless of what the study data indicates. General Manager Brad Janorschke claims that nothing could be farther from the truth. In a September newspaper opinion piece he stated that, "If the studies show that there would be a serious impact to the overall health of the Kenai River watershed, HEA will not proceed with the project." Critics of the project find that difficult to believe, given the request to AEA for construction funds. And many feel the FERC permitting process is more about enabling projects than actually evaluating them on their merits. 

While HEA members seem to want our coop to embrace renewable technology it's probably not just for the bragging rights. Most likely they want to see renewable projects make economic, social, and environmental sense. If built, will the Grant Lake project ultimately prove harmful to the Kenai River watershed ecosystem and the economy of the surrounding area? Or can the project be designed, built, and operated so it doesn't cause undue harm? And either way, will the ultimate cost per kWh be competitive with other options? If you don't know enough about this project to have an opinion why not do a little reading? Then let your HEA Board know how you feel.

Get information and the HEA management perspective. or contact Mike Salzetti at 283-2375.

Learn about the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission
(it's mission, and the licensing process)

Get more information and the skeptics' perspective.
Resurrection Bay Conservation Alliance

Alaska Center For the Environment

Hydropower Reform Coalition

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