Joint efforts make powerful statement


Posted: Friday, February 22, 2008

Wednesday's announcement by Homer Electric Association spokesman Joe Gallagher was a little shocking.

Gallagher told the Kenai Chamber of Commerce HEA is joining with other Railbelt utilities to look into forming a unified power system. Those "other" utilities include Chugach and Golden Valley electric associations, and the three signed a memorandum of understanding to explore the costs and benefits of creating a Unified Power Provider.

The utility groups would be sharing responsibilities of providing transmission and power generation services, Gallagher said. He said the memorandum "sets things in motion" to look into the possibilities.

HEA Board President Dave Carey was on hand for the announcement and added that he hoped it would make service more reliable and reduce rate increases fro members.

There was more news: HEA and Chugach Electric signed another memorandum to work together to develop a gas-fired electricity generation source in south Anchorage.

"While there are still many details to be worked out, the plant could be on-line by 2012, which could allow us to reopen our current 30-year contract with Chugach Electric before it ends," Carey said. "We are all most hopeful and believe it is time to get this state moving again by providing competitive energy for industry, businesses and our residential customers."

The good news has created a buzz. It also may be just the jolt the peninsula needs to keep our energy outlook bright well into the future.

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