All posts by Melissa Carlin

HEA Members Elect Directors at 2016 Annual Meeting

Homer Electric Association members elected three directors at the cooperative’s Annual Meeting of the Members in Kenai on May 4, 2016.

In District 1 (Kenai – Nikiski – parts of Soldotna area), incumbent director Dan Chay of Kenai ran uncontested and received 781 votes

In District 2 (Soldotna – Sterling- Kasilof area), incumbent director Ed Oberts of Soldotna also ran uncontested and received 978 votes.

In District 3 (South Kasilof – Kachemak Bay area), incumbent director Bill Fry of Homer received 900 votes and Stephen J. Pollack III garnered 404 votes.

The Annual Meeting drew a crowd of over 250 people. The meeting featured informational booths with an emphasis on HEA services and programs.

The Annual Meeting also featured the winners of Homer Electric’s Safety Poster Contest, Youth Rally selections and HEA Scholarship Program recipients.

Safety Poster Contest
HEA’s annual Safety Poster Contest elevates awareness of electrical energy by challenging 3rd and 4th graders to think about the benefits, as well as potential hazards, associated with electric use. Students are encouraged to create a safety message that can be expressed through art.

BEST SAFETY MESSAGE
Kendyl Cannava, 4th Grade at Soldotna Elementary School

MOST CREATIVE MESSAGE
Evelyn Giver, 4th Grade at Kalifornsky Beach Elementary School

MOST HUMOROUS MESSAGE
Lucas Story, 4th Grade at McNeil Canyon Elementary

Youth Rally
The Youth Rally is a week long summer camp specifically tailored for high school students in grades 10 and 11, designed to develop leadership skills, foster teamwork, strengthen communication techniques, highlight the unique qualities of electric cooperatives and increase awareness regarding important issues faced by the utility industry. The Youth Rally is held in Idaho and is a joint effort between statewide co-ops and the National Rural Electric Cooperative.

Brian Dusek, 11th Grade at Soldotna High School
Leah Johnson, 10th Grade at Kenai Central High School

Scholarship Program
HEA’s Scholarship Program is an outreach investment opportunity available to high school seniors and adults in pursuit of higher education. The award value and scholarship quantity is determined annually by the Board of Directors and funded by the interest earned on unclaimed capital credits.

HIGH SCHOOL SENIOR – $1,000 SCHOLARSHIP AWARDS
David Beck of  Kenai Central High School
Nolan Bunting of Homer High School
Victoria Cizek of Cook Inlet Academy
Kayla Haeg of Soldotna High School
Shenandoah Lush of Homer High School
Aziza Pitcher of Homer High School
Tisha Lovett of Homer High School
Mikaela Salzetti of Kenai Central High School
Jeanelee Stock of Nikiski High School
Halen Wells of Soldotna High School

OTHER/CONTINUING EDUCATION CATEGORY – $1,000 SCHOLARSHIP AWARDS
Stan Holguin of District 1
Carron Ann Murray of District 2
Stephen Severson of District 2

HEA to Host 2016 Annual Meeting on May 4

HEA will host its Annual Meeting at Kenai Central High School on Wednesday, May 4. Registration for the meeting will begin at 4:30 pm and close at 6:30 pm in the high school commons area. The business meeting will start in the Renee C. Henderson Theatre at 6:00 pm.

HEA members are reminded to please bring a form of identification for registration purposes.

The Annual Meeting will feature food, refreshments, informational booths, election results, and an update from the General Manager on HEA issues. There will also be attendance door prize drawings for energy credits, including a grand prize drawing for a free year of electricity (up to 10,000 kilowatt hours).

HEA Requests Rate Decrease for 2nd Quarter

March 30, 2016 – Homer Electric Association is requesting a rate change in its quarterly filing with the Regulatory Commission of Alaska.

In its filing, HEA is proposing to decrease the Cost of Power Adjustment (COPA) from 6.656 cents per kilowatt hour to 6.316 cents per kilowatt hour. COPA mainly reflects the cost of fuel (natural gas) used to generate electricity and is adjusted on a quarterly basis.

The reduction in the COPA is partially due to HEA’s new gas supply contract with Furie Operating Alaska LLC that goes into effect on April 1, 2016.

The change to the COPA will mean a decrease in the average monthly residential bill (550 kilowatt hours) of $1.87.
The COPA decrease will be effective for all billings beginning April 1, 2016.

HEA Board Election Updated

March 17, 2016 – Four candidates will be on the ballot for the Homer Electric Association (HEA) Board of Directors’ 2016 election. The deadline to apply for a seat on the board was March 4.

HEA directors are elected by the members in their respective district, with members voting only for the candidates residing in their district. This year, the following candidates are seeking election to the HEA board:

  • In District 1 (Kenai – Nikiski- parts of Soldotna area), the candidate is incumbent Dan Chay of Kenai.
  • In District 2 (Soldotna – Sterling – Kasilof), the candidate is incumbent Ed Oberts of Soldotna.
  • In District 3 (Kasilof south to Kachemak Bay area), the candidates are incumbent Bill Fry of Homer and Stephen J. Pollack III of Seldovia.

The 2016 ballot will also include six propositions. Proposition 1 and Proposition 2 would change the wording in the HEA bylaws and Articles of Incorporation from “husband and wife” to “married couple” to allow same-sex couples to hold a joint HEA membership. The proposed change is based on recent legal rulings regarding same-sex marriages. The remaining ballot propositions are aimed at clarifying language and intent in several sections of the bylaws. A complete rundown of the ballot propositions along with candidate information is available on HEA’s website (www.homerelectric.com).

The ballots will be mailed to HEA members on April 1, 2016. Completed mail-in ballots must be received in the mail by May 3, 2016, for validation. If HEA members are unable to complete a mail-in ballot, members will also have an opportunity to vote at the 2016 Annual Meeting of the Members, which will be held May 4, 2016, at Kenai Central High School.

For more details about the election and the Annual Meeting of the Members contact HEA’s office at 800-478-8551 or HEA’s website at www.homerelectric.com.

HEA Phone System Maintenance Work

March 15, 2016 – Homer Electric Association (HEA) will be working on its Homer office phone system Tuesday evening, March 15.

Due to the work, phone contact with the HEA Homer office (907-235-8551 and extensions) will not be available from 6 pm Tuesday to 7:30 am Wednesday, March 16.

Anyone needing to contact HEA during this time can still use the toll free number (1-800-478-8551) or the Kenai office number (907-283-5831) to speak with an HEA representative. Outage reporting will still be available on the Outage Reporting Hotline at 1-888-8OUTAGE (1-888-868-8243).

The phone system will be returned to normal operating status on Wednesday, March 16, at 7:30 am.

HEA Rates Will Decrease as of January 2016

Homer Electric Association (HEA) members will see a reduction in their monthly bills beginning January 1, 2016, as a result of a decrease in the Cost of Power Adjustment (COPA).

The COPA is adjusted on a quarterly basis and mostly reflects the cost of natural gas used to generate power for HEA members.

The COPA rate for the first quarter of 2016 is calculated to be $0.06656 per kilowatt hour. This is a decrease of $0.01251 from the current COPA rate of $0.07907 per kilowatt hour. The COPA change will result in a decrease of $6.88 in the monthly bill for the average residential HEA member using 550 kilowatt hours a month.

In addition, a proposed interim 3.25 percent base rate and customer charge increase submitted by HEA to the Regulatory Commission of Alaska (RCA) has been put on hold and will be the subject of further review by the RCA.

The new Cost of Power Adjustment (COPA) rate will go into effect for all billings as of January 1, 2016.

HEA Revising Credit Card Policy as of January 1, 2016

Homer Electric Association, Inc. (HEA) will no longer accept MasterCard debit/credit cards as a form of payment, beginning January 1, 2016.    The decision was made after considering several options to reduce the expense incurred by HEA in processing credit cards.

Currently, HEA accepts credit cards (Visa and MasterCard) as a form of payment without charging any fee to the member.   The costs associated with this service amount to over $400,000 per year for the cooperative.  While approximately 40 percent of HEA members use a credit card to pay their electric bill, the costs are spread out across the entire membership.

In reviewing the costs associated with accepting credit cards, it was determined that MasterCard transactions account for 58% of HEA’s total credit card fees, but only 17% of all credit card payments.

By no longer accepting MasterCard, HEA expects to realize substantial savings.

The decision will affect approximately 1,800 HEA members who currently use MasterCard to make a payment.   Those members who are currently using MasterCard to make a recurring HEA payment will be notified by mail of the new policy so they can make necessary arrangements to convert their method of payment.

While continuing to accept Visa as a form of payment, HEA offers several other forms of payment including:

  • Electronic Bank Draft: HEA will automatically deduct your bill from your designated bank account each month. No checks to write or payments to submit. Call or stop by an HEA office with a voided check or download an application to mail into the office to sign up.
  • EasyPay Online: At homerelectric.com you can look up your account, view your bill/usage history and pay your bill with a Visa card online or with an e-Check. This password protected option provides convenient and around the clock access to your account information. First time users: Please contact HEA for an access password.
  • Pay by Phone: Save time and postage by making a payment by phone. This service is available 24/7 and all you need is your account number.
  • Pay in Person: Stop by our cashier station or payment kiosk at either of the two HEA offices, open 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., Monday through Friday (except holidays). Payments are accepted in the form of cash, check, e-check, money order, or Visa debit/credit card.
  • HEA Drop Box: Drop your payment in the drop boxes located at HEA offices in Homer or Kenai.
  • Mobile App: Download HEA’s app today and login to your account, check your balance, history and pay your bill. You also have access to HEA contact and outage information.
  • Budget Billing. Simplify your bill paying and even out your electric payments by paying the same amount in December as you do in June with Budget Billing. Enrollment is in March, April and May.

If you have further questions or need assistance with your electric account, please contact Homer Electric’s member services department.

Friday, September 25 Outage in Homer

HEA is responding to a power outage in the Homer area this morning. The outage began at 5:30 am and is impacting 14 HEA members in the Mountain View Drive/Kachemak Drive area. The cause of the outage is an underground fault and the estimated time to complete repairs and restore power is approximately four hours.

HEA and Furie Sign Gas Sale & Purchase Agreement

Homer Electric Association has signed a Gas Sale and Purchase Agreement with Furie Operating Alaska LLC.

Furie is an independent oil and gas company that focuses on the exploration and production of natural gas in the Cook Inlet area.

Under the terms of the agreement, Homer Electric’s generation and transmission subsidiary, Alaska Electric and Energy Cooperative (AEEC), will receive natural gas from Furie beginning on April 1, 2016. The contract terminates December 31, 2018. Additionally, there are two one-year options to extend the term of the agreement through December 31, 2020.

The gas will be used to fuel HEA-owned power plants in Nikiski and Soldotna.

Currently, Homer Electric is purchasing gas from Hilcorp under terms of a contract that expires March 31, 2016. To secure a future gas supply beyond March 31, 2016, HEA contacted known Cook Inlet natural gas producers and began negotiations with those producers that expressed an interest and an ability to provide natural gas under the terms of a utility based natural gas supply contract. The agreement with Furie is the culmination of that effort.

The agreement calls for HEA/AEEC to purchase between 4.0 and 6.2 billion cubic feet of natural gas annually beginning in March 31, 2016.

With regard to gas pricing, HEA’s gas costs in 2016 and 2017 will actually be lower than what HEA is currently paying for gas under its existing Hilcorp contract. HEA General Manager Brad Janorschke said the agreement with Furie is a positive development for the Cook Inlet area.

“This contract will provide one of the Cook Inlet independent producers with a market for its gas, allowing them to move forward with significant investment in Cook Inlet offshore gas infrastructure. The contract brings to fruition the State of Alaska’s goal to incentivize offshore exploration and development in the Cook Inlet. The excess capacity that will result from this development and the pricing within this contract may lead to more competitive gas pricing within the Cook Inlet market,” said Janorschke.

Furie finished construction and installation of a new offshore platform, 16 miles of subsea pipeline and a natural gas processing facility in Nikiski this summer. They are currently connecting the Kitchen Lights Unit discovery well within the platform caisson to the production equipment. Furie has indicated that they plan to have production online by November of 2015. HEA has every confidence in Furie’s ability to deliver gas according to the terms of this contract.

Furie’s Senior Vice President Bruce Webb said the contract with HEA is an exciting step for Furie’s long-term success in the Cook Inlet.

“When we began drilling in 2011, the Cook Inlet was in the midst of a potential energy crisis. We are proud to be one of the companies to provide energy security to the residents of Southcentral Alaska. It seems fitting that our first natural gas deliveries will be to HEA who supplies electricity to the community where our onshore production facility is located. We look forward to supplying natural gas to other Cook Inlet utilities.”

The Gas Sale and Purchase Agreement does not become effective until approved by the Regulatory Commission of Alaska (RCA).

Strong Winds Cause Scattered Outages

August 26, 2015 – Homer Electric crews responded to several scattered outages, mostly due to strong winds, on Wednesday, August 26th.

The first outage occurred about 7:02 am on Irish Hills Avenue, between Soldotna and Kasilof, affecting 31 members and was restored by 10:00 am and was due to a faulty insulator.

HEA crews responded to an outage on Miller Loop affecting 63 members at 11:13 am. Power was restored to that area at approximately 1:27 pm. The cause of the outage was due to a fallen tree on the power line.

An outage on Farr Street off West Poppy Lane affected 74 members was also due to a fallen tree on the line. The outage began around 12:51 pm and was restored by 2:37 pm.

There was also an outage at 1:39 pm in the Robinson Loop and Swanson River Road area affecting 222 members. Power was restored to this area by 3:48 pm

In addition, approximately 369 members in Sterling off Monica Street were without power starting at 2:00 pm and power restored by 4:13 pm.

Thirty-nine members in Nikiski off Neighbors Drive also experienced an outage late in the afternoon and power was restored by 6:26 pm.

Like Homer Electric on Facebook and select “See First” on your Newsfeed to receive immediate outage notifications.  Outage information, via the Facebook feed, can also be found on HEA’s website at www.homerelectric.com.

As always, please take precautions to protect sensitive electronic equipment and remember to STAY AWAY FROM ANY DOWNED POWER LINE.  THE LINES ARE VERY DANGEROUS AND CAN CAUSE SERIOUS INJURY OR DEATH IF CONTACT IS MADE.  IF YOU SEE A DOWNED POWER LINE, LEAVE THE AREA AND PLEASE CALL HOMER ELECTRIC AT 1-888-8OUTAGE OR 1-888-868-8243.