Work on a buried power cable at the intersection of Mission Road and Center Avenue has forced motorists to detour around it for several days now.
According to KEA CEO Darron Scott, the first closure was to pull the cable out of its conduit, but they found a blockage inside, and were forced to dig up more of the road to reach the blocked spot.
As soon as the conduit is repaired, KEA can replace the old cable with a new one.
The underground cable originally failed two weeks ago, causing a brief outage in parts of downtown at the time.
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If you’ve noticed a slight decline in your electric bill this year, it’s because very little diesel fuel is used to generate power, according to KEA boss Darron Scott.
“Just got some recent numbers, so for the first half of this year, we’re at 99.6 percent renewable. Which has just been great. The third turbine has been a big part of that, at Terror Lake, and it’s been able to perform really well and take care of all of our peak load situations during that heavy fish processing time, you know that March-February timeframes we have really high loads. Very useful there, plus allowed to do some maintenance on our older units as well later in the spring. The wind turbines have been doing good too, and kinda combine all around.”
On a Kodiak Electric bill, there’s a line item called the “Cost of Power Adjustment,” or COPA, which represents the cost of using diesel fuel in electricity generation. The reduction in that is what’s driving the decline in electric bills. Scott says electric rates today are actually lower than they were at the turn of the century.
“If you went and used the average amount of electricity, which is around 600 KWH, I believe, your bill would have been in January of 2001 about $105 give or take a few cents. And now, this January of 2014, it was about a hundred dollars. Just over a hundred dollars. So about a 4.5 percent drop January 2001 to January 2014. And that’s no inflation numbers or anything. That’s just the real hard dollars that we see.”
And because of Kodiak’s legendary weather, Scott predicts steady electric rates in the future.
“And the great thing about the renewable is that’s going to be the cost tomorrow and the cost the next day as well. We’ve already got all those fixed costs embedded in us. And so the price of fuel, as long as we continue to get rain and win – which we probably will in Kodiak – rates should stay fairly stable for the near future.”
Though June’s rain was average, according to the National Weather Service, this spring and summer has so far been relatively sunny and mild, but not so much so that it has Scott too concerned.
“Even with this feeling that we’ve got a dry year here, at least at this point in time, our lake is in very good position. It’s very close to full. Which is great for this time. Again, we don’t have a lot of snow pack that we normally have for later in the summer. But at least at this point, it’s great shape, which is great for this time. So everything is really working together very well and according to plan.”
Kodiak Electric Association operates three hydro-electric turbines at Terror Lake, and six wind turbines atop Pillar Mountain.
If you noticed some heavy equipment working right up to the sidewalk on Mill Bay Road recently, it’s the new headquarters for Kodiak Electric Association. KEA CEO Darron Scott:
“The board decided in early May to move forward with the new building design we‘ve got going on. It’s right over there by Ardingers on Mill Bay, and it connects up to our operations facility which is on Chichenoff, right behind on Mill Bay. We started breaking ground a few weeks ago, and looking forward to final construction next summer.”
The public facing side will be along Mill Bay Road, which Scott says should be more convenient for KEA members than the current spot on Marine Way. He said it would also serve to consolidate the co-op’s operations:
“Well what we got is it’s not going to be just for this one building here. We’ve got facilities where our power generation folks are at, we’ve got facilities in this downtown headquarters and we’ve also got folks stationed out at our operations building. The oldest building is this building right here – the headquart5ers building. It’s a 1960s tin building. We took a look at that and it needed quite a bit of work to get up to par and putting a lot of money into a 1960s building, it was much more cost-effective to look at a new building. Tehn we also looked at our physical assets, so we’re moving everybody together under one roof. And that’ll be at the Mill Bay site, so we’ll have all groups working together under one roof, which will always add to better communication, those type of things as well and lower our future maintenance costs on building infrastructure and those types of things.”
The project is expected to cost $10-million, but it shouldn’t affect your electric bill.
“We’re not projecting any rates due to the building at this time,” he said.
Many residents of Bells Flats hit the hay last night with no electricity, though it was restored before they woke up this morning.
According to the Kodiak Electric Association, a faulty insulator caused a short which cut off power to the Flats, Middle Bay, Chiniak and Pasagshak.
KEA linemen worked through the wee hours to find the problem and had the damaged equipment replaced by 2:14 this morning.
There’s a new face on the Kodiak Electric Association board of directors. During the member-owned cooperative’s annual meeting Monday, results of the election for three, three-year seats were announced, and Clifford Ford will be joining incumbents Ron Acarregui and Cecil Ranney. Ford will replace incumbent Ben Millstein.
Acarregui collected the most votes, with 743, with Ranney receiving 708 and Ford 624. Millstein trailed by 38, with 586.
The board meets the fourth Thursday of every month, except November and December. Its next gathering will be at noon on Thursday at the KEA office Building.
An early-morning electrical outage left canneries along the Kodiak waterfront without power, according to Kodiak Electric Association President Darron Scott. An electrical fault caused a circuit breaker to trip at the Hartman Substation.
While crews were troubleshooting that outage, an additional component failed, resulting in an outage on Center and Mission streets. The 8:55 a.m. power surge caused a momentary brownout in other parts of town. Some businesses in the Mall area had to close due to the outage.
As of noon, KEA crews were still trying to isolate where the latest outage originated. We’ll keep you updated on their progress.