Homer Electric Association

Sabine Poux/KDLL

There could be a chain of electric vehicle chargers along the Railbelt by 2022. The Alaska Energy Authority is building out its plan to make the 600-mile stretch of highway friendlier to electric vehicles.

But advocates say the state needs to change regulations before that plan is feasible. Earlier this month, a coalition of Railbelt utilities proposed some of those changes to the Regulatory Commission of Alaska, the body that manages public utilities in the state.

Homer Electric Association

Homer Electric Association is restoring some of its underground cables this summer, from Kenai over to Funny River.

Dale Marsengill, manager of engineering services for HEA, said it’s because cables that are underground for so long end up fraying, with cracks in wire insulation. The deterioration can cause power outages.

Econ 919 — EV update

May 21, 2021
Photo: Sabine Poux/KDLL

The Alaska Energy Authority was scouting spots along the Railbelt this spring to place 10 to 14 electric vehicle charging stations — covering the 600-mile-long stretch of highway between Homer and Fairbanks.

It was one of the first steps in the corporation’s plan to make the Railbelt friendlier to electric vehicles. The project is funded in part from Alaska’s share of a 2017 settlement with Volkswagen over a Diesel emissions scandal.

Homer Electric Association

Mike Chenault and Robert Wall are the new members of the Homer Electric Association Board of Directors representing the Central Kenai Peninsula.

There’s a large slate of candidates running for the three open seats on the Homer Electric Association Board of Directors this year.

On the Central Kenai Peninsula, there are four candidates are running for the District 1 seat, to represent Kenai, Nikiski and part of Soldotna. They are Mike Chenault, Erik Hendrickson, Wayne Ogle and Joseph Ross.

Two candidates are on the ballot for District 2, which represents Soldotna, Sterling and Kasilof. Those candidates Ed Schmitt and Robert Wall.

Sabine Poux/KDLL

Cook Inlet has long been a hotbed of oil and gas development in Alaska.

But for years, renewable energy advocates have been eyeing another Cook Inlet resource — tides. The inlet has some of the largest tides in the world but their energy potential has remained untapped.

One company is trying to change that, and says it could have a generator in the water in the next three years.


A second push for solar

Feb 25, 2021
Courtesy of Kaitlin Vadla

A cooperative buying campaign is pushing again to get discounted solar panels on more Kenai Peninsula roofs.

Volunteers from Solarize the Kenai mobilized 82 property owners last year to outfit their homes and businesses with panels. It’s a collective effort, so interested homeowners sign up in groups to get group rates.

Sabine Poux/KDLL

The Alaska Energy Authority plans to install between 10 and 14 electric chargers along the Railbelt, from Homer and Seward to Fairbanks.

The corporation is looking for companies to make those charging stations and sites to host them. It has about $1 million to put toward the project, part of Alaska’s share of a 2017 settlement with Volkswagen over a Diesel emissions scandal.

Homer Electric Association has seen a sharp increase in the number of its members wanting to hook up their own renewable energy setups into the grid this summer, and is planning to ask the state Regulatory Commission to increase how much renewable energy it can buy back from them.

This summer alone, central peninsula residents have installed more than 140 kilowatts’ of solar panel capacity, with more planned for Homer. That adds to the number of people who already had renewable energy capacity at their homes or businesses who can generate their own energy and feed some back into HEA’s grid when they make too much. At the same time, they can also draw off the grid when it’s not sunny enough for their panels or not windy enough for a wind turbine.

Alaska’s midnight sun is going to work for more peninsula residents as they install more and more solar panels.

The Solarize the Kenai campaign kicked off this summer, offering discounts to people who wanted to install solar panels on their homes or businesses. The campaign, headed up by community action group Kenai Change, brought residents together to ask for bids from solar installers so they could get a bargain group rate on the panels before installing them.

Homer Electric Association’s annual meeting is scheduled for 6 p.m. tonight at Soldotna High School. For the first time in the co-op’s 70-year history, though, HEA is encouraging members not to attend.

HEA is required by its bylaws to hold an annual meeting the first week of May but the bylaws did not foresee a global pandemic. HEA doesn’t want to encourage a crowd, given state health mandates on social distancing and large gatherings. That means no free meal or prize drawings, as HEA usually provides at the annual meeting.

If 50 or more people show up, an official meeting must be held. If less than 50 members attend, HEA can reschedule or cancel the meeting.

HEA ballots due soon

Apr 30, 2020

If you haven’t sent in your ballot for the Homer Electric Association Board of Directors, now is the time. HEA will announce the winners May 7.

Two candidates are running for a District 1 seat, covering Kenai, Nikiski and parts of Soldotna. Jim Duffield, of Kenai, comes from a financial background, having been an accountant and auditor. He is a shareholder and the managing member of JMJ Tax Relief in Kenai. Duffield says he would bring his financial background to serve on the board.

“The rates seem to have continually climbed steadily in the last few years,” Duffield said. “And I don’t feel like that’s really justified. And there’s been a number of good projects that they’ve gotten involved in that have paid off well for the company and for us as users, but there’s also some projects that have not worked out quite so well.”

In this week's show, we hear from candidates for the Homer Electric Association Board of Directors:
District 1: Jim Duffield and Erik Hendrickson

District 2: C.O. Rudstrom

District 3: Troy Jones, Pete Kinneen and Jim Levine

Find candidate resumes here.

Jenny Neyman/KDLL

It took cellphones less than 30 years to go from science fiction to everyday necessity.

Electric vehicles seem to be on the same trajectory.

“Before long, many of us will be driving an electric vehicle. And you’re probably sitting there under your breath laughing at me and saying, ‘Oh sure, Bruce,” said Bruce Shelley, director of member relations Homer Electric Association. He gave a presentation on electric vehicles at a Kenai-Soldotna chamber of commerce meeting Wednesday.

Kaitlin Vadla, with Cook Inletkeeper, and Mark Haller, owner of the solar installation business Midnight Sun Solar, joined the Kenai Conversation on Jan. 29 to talk about Solarize the Kenai, an initative to instal solar panels on homes and businesses on the central Kenai Penisula for a reduced rate.

For more information about the program, visit http://kenaichange.org/solarize-the-kenai/
 

 

Power restored to mot HEA customers

Dec 5, 2019

 

Some Kenai Peninsula residents were still without power Thursday, with more than a foot of snow in some areas weighing down power lines and trees.

1100-plus HEA customers without power overnight

Dec 3, 2019
HEA

Over 1,100 Central Peninsula residents are without power this morning as heavy snow shorted power lines overnight.

The electricity failed at about 3 a.m. in Kenai, affecting 303 customers of Homer Electric Co-Op. There are 742 customers affected in Nikiski, 18 in Soldotna, and 48 in Kasilof.

The 1,127 customers affected, according to HEA's outage map, represent about 3.5-percent of the members it serves.

Econ 919: Electricity rate-payers may get burned

Sep 27, 2019

    The monetary cost of the Swan Lake Fire, still smoldering between Sterling and Cooper Landing, has yet to be tallied up completely, but in addition to lost tourism and retail dollars due to the blaze, add increased electric rates — for some.
    Utility officials say the fire damaged the high-voltage power transmission lines that connect the Bradley Lake hydroelectric dam near Homer to the rest of the railbelt.

Chay, Oberts, McKittrick win HEA voter approval

May 6, 2019

 The two Central Peninsula representatives to the Homer Electric Board of Directors were re-elected at last week’s annual membership meeting.

In District 1 Kenai, Dan Chay ran unopposed and gathered 683 votes. There were 65 write-ins.

In District 2 Soldotna, incumbent Ed Oberts won re-election against challenger Ed Schmitt by a vote of 789 to 530, with 24 write-ins.

In the South Peninsula, Erin McKittrick of Seldovia defeated incumbent Gregory C. Martin Jr. of Homer by a vote of 966-709, with 20 write-ins.

HEA Dist. 2 candidates

Apr 11, 2019

Mail-in ballots for the upcoming Homer Electric Association board of directors annual election have started showing up in co-op member mailboxes around the area. On the ballot are candidates for one seat in each of the three HEA regions.

In District 1, the Kenai area, the lone candidate is incumbent Dan Chay. In District 3, the Lower Peninsula, a Seldovia woman, Erin McKittrick, is challenging the middle-age white male hegemony on the board, and faces fellow board new-comer Gregory Martin Jr. of Homer. The winner will replace board member Bill Fry.

Kenai Conversation: Meet HEA Dist. 2 Candidates

Apr 3, 2019

The Homer Electrict Assn. board of directors election is coming up. In the Soldotna area, Dist. 2, incumbent Ed Oberts faces a challenge from retired surgeon Ed Schmitt. Meet them both on this week's Kenai Conversation.

Regulators oppose CINGSA request

Mar 8, 2019

 

Cook Inlet Natural Gas Storage Alaska, or CINGSA, won’t have any guarantees of recouping proposed investments through rate hikes. The Regulatory Commission of Alaska issued its decision on the matter this week.

CINGSA upgrades could mean higher gas rates

Nov 16, 2018
Shaylon Cochran/KDLL

A pending decision from the Regulatory Commission of Alaska could lead to higher rates for South Central natural gas customers.

HEA seeing interest in adding solar to power mix

Aug 21, 2018

Seventy-two years ago electricity in Homer started flowing from a 75,000 watt diesel generator, supplying power to 56 members who had come together to form the Homer Electric Association.

Today, there are a few more customers throughout the Kenai Peninsula and 80-million watts of electricity coming from a variety of sources, which still includes diesel. But the member-owned co-op has added hydroelectric, natural gas turbines and recovered heat generation.

Now, the board is looking at adding solar-electric.

Your cost of electricity has increased

Jul 3, 2018

Your electricity bill has gone up through no fault of your own. 

Starting on July 1st, Homer Electric Association bills went up due to an increase in the cost of power adjustment, or COPA. The COPA is added to reflect increases in the cost of natural gas used to generate electricity.

The increase, from roughly 6.7 cents per kilowatt hour to roughly 7.3 cents, an increase of 8.49 percent.

Homer Electric estimates that a residential customer using 550 kilowatt hours of electricity a month will an increase of $3.13.

There'll be one new face on the Homer Electric Association board of directors after election results were tallied May 3 at the cooperative's annual meeting in Homer.

HEA members cast 3,196 ballots in person and by mail for the election which had three seats on the nine-member board up for grabs.

Incumbent Dave Carey, a former mayor of Soldotna and the Borough, ran unopposed for the seat representing Kenai, Nikiski, and Soldotna. It will be his 10th term on the board.

The slate of candidates is set for next month’s vote-by-mail election for three seats on the Homer Electric Association board of directors.

One incumbent, Dave Carey, is running unopposed. He represents District 2, the Soldotna area.

The District 3 seat, currently vacant with the resignation of Don Stead, only had one man throw his hat into the ring: Roy Champagne of Anchor Point. The district extends from Kachemak Bay to Soldotna.

HEA Board seeking candidates for 3 seats

Feb 26, 2018

Friday is the deadline for those seeking to have their name appear on the Homer Electric Association board of directors ballot. There are three seats available, starting with District 1, Nikiski, Kenai and parts of Soldotna, said Bruce Shelly, the co-op’s member services director.

Homer Electric raising rates

Dec 19, 2017

On the Kenai Peninsula, Homer Electric Association members can expect a four-percent increase in their monthly power bill beginning on Jan. 1.

The association regularly reassess the cost of power.

We adjust this on a quarterly basis and it primarily reflects the cost of natural gas used by generation power HEA members," said HEA spokesman Bruce Shelley.

The average resident will see their bill go up by $1.49 per month.