All posts by Melissa Carlin

June 24 Power Outage

Homer Electric Association (HEA) members experienced a systemwide power outage Wednesday morning.

The outage started at approximately 11:00 am when a problem at HEA’s Nikiski generation plant resulted in the plant going off line.

The loss of Nikiski generation resulted in a power outage that affected approximately 22,000 of the 33,000 meters on HEA’s system, from Nikiski south to Homer.

After the Nikiski plant tripped, HEA was able to start up the Bernice Lake generation plant as well as add load to the generation plant in Soldotna.

Restoration efforts began immediately and by 11:20 am power had been restored to all the affected meters.

Card Street Fire Update

June 19, 2015 – Homer Electric Association restored power to the Kenai Keys area on Saturday afternoon, as conditions in the area were safe to do so.

There were 169 meters in the area that were without power since the Card Street Fire started on Monday.

The fire burned in the Kenai Keys area, damaging electric facilities and leaving a number of charred and hazardous trees in its wake.

During the week, HEA crews were able to make temporary repairs to the electric equipment and are currently working with a tree contractor to remove trees that are burned and in danger of falling into the power lines.

With the fire conditions deemed safe, the power was  turned back on in the Kenai Keys area on Saturday.
HEA appreciates the patience and support of the Kenai Keys residents during this difficult time.

For additional information please contact Joe Gallagher at 907-283-2324

HEA Requests Rate Decrease for 3rd Quarter

Homer Electric Association, Inc. (HEA) is requesting a rate change in its quarterly filings with the Regulatory Commission of Alaska (RCA).

In its filing, HEA is proposing to decrease the Cost of Power Adjustment (COPA) from 7.846 cents per kilowatt hour (kWh) to 7.784 cents per kWh. COPA reflects the cost of the fuel (natural gas) used to generate electricity and is adjusted on a quarterly basis.

The requested rate change will result in a decrease of $0.39 in a monthly residential bill for HEA members using the average of 630 kWh.

If approved by the Regulatory Commission of Alaska, the proposed change will be effective for all billings beginning July 1, 2015.

 

Power Outage in Homer

Homer Electric Association responded to a power outage Monday afternoon in the Diamond Ridge and Old Sterling Highway area. The outage started at 2:37 pm and affected 638 HEA members.

The cause of the outage was a failed insulator on power pole along the Old Sterling Highway. The failure of the insulator caused a small fire at the bottom of the pole. HEA crews were able to contain the fire until the Division of Forestry and the Anchor Point Fire Department arrived on the scene.

The fire was quickly extinguished and did not spread beyond the immediate vicinity of the power pole.

Homer Electric crews made repairs and had power fully restored at 3:45 pm.

Phone Scams Reported in Southcentral Alaska

Utilities, including Homer Electric, are getting reports from businesses regarding suspicious phone calls.

The phone scam is targeting customers in Anchorage and on the Kenai Peninsula.

The fraudulent caller impersonates a utility representative and requests payment for the customer’s supposed past due bill and threatens immediate disconnection of electric service if the bill is not paid. The goal of the scammers is to obtain credit card or other financial information.

If a suspicious phone call is received, end the phone call and contact Homer Electric for verification and to check the status of your account. Homer Electric has a protocol for contacting members which includes advanced notification prior to a phone call.

Scammers are becoming smarter, so don’t be fooled by caller ID even if it says Homer Electric Association.

Never give anyone your personal information such as your Social Security number, bank account number or credit card number unless you initiated the conversation and you are confident the transaction is legitimate.

If you have questions or need additional information, please call 1-800-478-8551.

HEA Schedules Summer Project to Improve Reliability

Homer Electric will be working in Homer and Soldotna this summer on a project that will improve the reliability and extend the life of underground cable.

Homer Electric’s underground electrical cables are aging, which means that their protective insulation is beginning to deteriorate. This can cause cracks, which can lead to unplanned power outages. Homer Electric is working with a company called Novinium to repair the cables using a silicone injection process. The silicone fills the cracks in the cables and extends their useful life up to 40 years.

The cable injection work will take place in several Soldotna and Homer neighborhoods during the summer. The work will require intermittent power outages for HEA members in these areas where the injection is taking place. The number of power interruptions will be kept to a minimum and every effort will be made to limit the duration of the outages.

HEA will provide advance notice to affected neighborhoods prior to the start of the work.

If you have questions about this project in the Soldotna area, please call HEA Engineering Services Supervisor Chris Edgar at 283-2350 in Kenai. For questions regarding the Homer project, please contact HEA Engineering Services Supervisor Dale Marsengill at 235-3353 in Homer.

Reduction in HEA Work Force

Homer Electric Association (HEA) has implemented a reduction in force due to declining energy sales.

The cooperative has seen its energy sales decline over the last several years. To try to mitigate the downward trend in sales, approximately $9 million in expenses were cut during the 2015 budget process. Despite these efforts and continued attempts to control costs through operating efficiencies, it became necessary to reduce the number of employees.

In 2012, HEA energy sales were 490,000 megawatt hours. In 2013, the number fell to 482,000 megawatt hours and in 2014 the total sales number dropped to 465,000 megawatt hours.
The trend has continued in 2015 and actual revenues from energy sales in the first three months of the year are nearly one million dollars less than projected. The decline in energy sales, along with the fact there are few capital projects planned, has forced the cooperative to reduce its work force in order to avoid any additional rate increases.

The reduction in force resulted in the layoff of nine HEA employees. The decision was based solely on budgetary concerns.

“The decision to eliminate the positions was extremely difficult, particularly because of the impact it would have on valuable, hard-working employees whose efforts have not gone unnoticed. It is anticipated these reductions will provide HEA with the financial stability we need at this time,” said HEA General Manager Brad Janorschke.

As of May 17, 2015, HEA has 140 full-time and 2 part-time employees located in at HEA offices in Homer, Kenai, and Nikiski.

Homer Electric Association Members Elect Directors at 2015 Annual Meeting

Homer Electric Association members elected three directors at the cooperative’s Annual Meeting of the Members in Homer on May 7, 2015.

In District 1 (Kenai – Nikiski – parts of Soldotna area), incumbent director David B. Thomas of Kenai ran uncontested and received 781 votes

In District 2 (Soldotna – Sterling- Kasilof area), incumbent director Dave Carey of Soldotna was re-elected with 942 votes and Andrew Alexandrou received 276 votes.

In District 3 (South Kasilof – Kachemak Bay area), Don Stead of Homer received 766 votes, Jim Levine had 552 votes, and Joe Singleton garnered 211 votes.

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

In addition to the HEA booths, a representative from the Kenai Peninsula Borough’s Office of Emergency Management provided information on ways for individuals to prepare for disasters as well as help themselves, neighbors, and community in the event of a disaster.

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
Avrie Medina, 4th Grade K-Beach Elementary

MOST CREATIVE MESSAGE
Emilia Rodriguez, 3rd Grade K-Beach Elementary

MOST HUMOROUS MESSAGE
Lucas Story, 3rd Grade 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.

Michael Lewis, 11th Grade Soldotna High School
Jackson Blackwell, 10th Grade Soldotna 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.

$1,000 SCHOLARSHIP AWARDS
Hailey Ames of Soldotna High School
Ajiel Basmayor of Ninilchik School
Justin Dahlgren of Soldotna High School
Ali Dusek of Soldotna High School
Claire Kincaid  of Soldotna High School
Sabina Kryshak-Karwowski of Homer High School
Tisha Lovett of Homer High School
Kirsten Nyquist of Kenai Central High School
Madison Orth of Cook Inlet Academy

OTHER/CONTINUING EDUCATION CATEGORY $1,000 SCHOLARSHIP AWARDS
Dagmar Badger of District 2
Karmen Classen of District 3
Clara Noomah of District 3

HEA to Host 2015 Annual Meeting on May 7

HEA will host its Annual Meeting at Homer High School on Thursday, May 7.  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 Mariner 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).

Grant Lake Draft License Application Submitted; Public Comment Period Open

On March 27, 2015, Homer Electric Association’s solely-owned subsidiary, Kenai Hydro LLC, submitted a Draft License Application to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) for the proposed Grant Lake Hydroelectric Project.

The submittal triggered the opening of a 90-day public comment period that will close on June 29, 2015.

The Grant Lake Hydroelectric Project would be a new 5-megawatt hydroelectric facility on Grant Lake and Grant Creek near Moose Pass, Alaska. The Project would divert water from Grant Lake and deliver the flow to a powerhouse located near the outlet of the existing Grant Creek canyon. The Project would include the following major components:

  • An intake structure in Grant Lake.
  • A tunnel extending from the lake intake to just east of the powerhouse.
  • A powerhouse with two Francis turbines providing an anticipated combined 5-MW
  • Tailrace detention pond.
  • Switchyard with disconnect switch and step-up transformer.
  • An overhead transmission line.
  • A pole mounted disconnect switch where the transmission line intersects the main power distribution line.

Persons interested in viewing the Draft License Application and providing comments to FERC via the FERC eLibrary can do so by following these steps:

  • Click on link:  https://elibrary.ferc.gov/IDMWS/search/fercgensearch.asp
  • Under the “Date Range” category in the “From” option, make sure the date range is inclusive of the range between March 25th and March 31st.  This will ensure that the DLA filing is included in your request.
  • Under the “Library” category, make sure “Hydro” is selected.
  • Under the “Docket Number” category, enter “P-13212”
  • Click “Submit” at the bottom of the page.  This will take you to all documents/correspondence that have been filed during your specified date range.
  • A chronological list of documents/correspondence will appear with detailed descriptions of each.  At the far right of specific exhibits that you’d like to review, select the .pdf option and the selected file will open on your computer.

Comments can also be mailed to Secretary Kimberly D. Bose, Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, Attn: DHAC PJ-12.2, 888 First Street, NE, Washington, DC 20426. Reference Grant Lake Hydroelectric Project P-13212 DLA in the subject line of the comments.