Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Regular HEA/AEEC Meetings

Regular HEA/AEEC Meetings
Tuesday, January 10, 2012

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 are available on the HEA website at http://www.homerelectric.com/BoardofDirectorsElections/BoardMeetingInformation/Agendas/tabid/220/Default.aspx
. There are sometimes last minute changes in scheduling, so check the website.

Electronic Voting
Resolution 45.2012.02, proposing an amendment to HEA bylaws to allow electronic voting in annual elections is on the January 10 Operations Committee and HEA Board meeting agendas. If passed, an electronic voting option would not eliminate traditional paper ballots. At the October meeting, Operations Committee Chairman Jim Levine reported  members' concerns about potential vote tampering.  Hopefully, if electronic voting is approved, effective protection against hacking and vote manipulation will be incorporated into the system. If you are interested in this topic you should attend the 10:00 AM Operations Committee Meeting.

Energy from Garbage (thanks to Sustainable Homer for this reminder)
Wednesday the 11th:  REAP Forum: Anchorage Landfill Methane Power Plant  Get the live podcast online at: https://www1.gotomeeting.com/register/830056584 to hear from 6-8pm about the latest on Alaska's FIRST EVER Landfill Methane Power Plant, which in 2012 will tap methane produced by the Anchorage Regional Landfill to power Joint Base Elmendorf Richardson (JBER). There are many such plants around the country, but this will be the first in Alaska. Their speaker will be MARK MADDEN, Solid Waste Services Director for the Municipality of Anchorage. More info:  907.929.7770www.REalaska.org
New HEA Rate Structure
If you received your January HEA bill you probably noticed the new rate structure. The components of residential electric bills include:

New customer charge -- $15.00
New Blended energy charge -- 16.917 cents per kWh (HEA base rate + Cost of Power Adjustment)
Regulatory charge
Sales tax

The $15.00 customer charge is a bit low. It covers less than half the amount the RCA allows a utility to charge for its fixed costs (basically, everything needed to provide service to a customer except the electricity). This leaves HEA still recovering a large part of those fixed costs through the per kWh energy charge. That's why the monthly 150 kWh minimum energy charge was added. The minimum is really just an additional, but variable, customer charge disguised as an energy charge. That's why the RAPA and the RCA were reticent to approve it. When they finally did, the RCA capped the combined minimum energy charge and customer service charge at $38.38. HEA can't exceed that amount no matter how much the per kWh energy rate increases without going back to the RCA.

According to HEA the typical residential member uses an average 630 kWh a month and will see a 7.2% decrease in their bill under the new plan. The lowest consumption members will see an increase in their rates, however. See the news story at http://homernews.com/stories/010412/news_nhrpa.shtml#.TwovSSNqNZg or the HEA press release at http://www.homerelectric.com/ for more information.

Renewable Energy Money for HEA Members
HEA has offered relatively low interest loans (up to $5,000) through its "Line of Credit Program" for a number of years.  These are designed to help members upgrade to more efficient appliances, improved electrical and plumbing systems and much more. At the December Board meeting, small scale renewable generation equipment and services were added to the list of acceptable uses for the loans. Learn more about the program at http://www.homerelectric.com/Residential/HEALoanProgram/tabid/93/Default.aspx.

Heating with Lower Cost Off-peak Electricity
HEA General Manager Brad Janorschke has proposed investigating an Electronic Thermal Storage (EST) pilot program for 2012. It would enable members to offset higher cost propane and fuel oil with lower cost off-peak electricity. Off-peak energy sales allow dispatchers greater flexibility in maximizing system efficiency. For example, shifting demand from peak use hours to lower demand times can avoid the need to fire up additional generation or purchase power from other producers -- both expensive options. This strategy was not a practical option under HEA's present power purchase agreement with Chugach Electric Association, however. Once HEA is generating most of our power, reduced off-peak electric rates become a real possibility. 

ETS units are designed to be used as energy storage devices that can help us incorporate fluctuating renewable energy resources like wind power by evening out and balancing energy demand. An out-of-budget expenditure will be presented to the HEA Board for approval prior to proceeding with the project. If you are interested in this kind of project you should attend the 5:30 PM HEA Board meeting to ask questions and tell the Board what you think.