Storm cost expected to be near $1 million

Posted: Wednesday, January 16, 2002

When two storms ripped through the Kenai Peninsula in late December, toppling hundreds of trees into power lines, the cost of repairs for Homer Electric Association quickly began adding up, but electric rates are not expected to go up as a result.

While the cost estimate is still being tallied, HEA spokesman Joe Gallagher said the total is likely to come in at around $1 million.

Though the expense will affect HEA consumers, it won't show up on member's electric bills. Instead, consumers might see lower capital credits allocated.

"The cost of the repair work is not expected to be reflected in the rates that Homer Electric members now pay," Gallagher said.

Many factors contributed, but around 50 percent of the cost relates to paying contract crews that came to help fix the lines. With more than 30 linemen from HEA and contracted from Anchorage electric companies working around the clock during holidays, the storm proved expensive. Materials for replacement line and poles added to the cost.

HEA budgets for storm-related repairs, but the December outages far exceeded that budget, Gallagher said.

"The cost is beyond what had been budgeted for storm repair work," Gallagher said.

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