I have been a full-time Alaska resident for 41 years, graduating from Ninilchik High School, and have worked most of my career on the Kenai Peninsula. As manager of Peak Oilfield Service Co., I have the responsibility of bidding very large projects and assuring that these projects come in on budget.
HEA needs to focus our resources on providing low-cost electricity to all members, which would help our co-op bring our rates down from being the highest of all railbelt electric utilities. We need to build safe, economical systems that do not spend our capital in competitive situations with private industry. Other power utilities have tried to diversify and have found that not only does their core business suffer but some have even faced financial ruin.
There is a need for a stronger negotiation stance with our main supplier, Chugach Electric. To truly control costs, we have to attack the major area of expense, the cost of electricity. We have not taken an aggressive stand with CEA to accomplish this.
Areas of our system have suffered longer outages because of lack of maintenance and over-dependence on technology at the cost of employees. We still need the best employees possible and they need to be properly trained and equipped. We need to work on clearing dangerous situations with trees and maintaining our system to prevent as many outages as possible.
There needs to be a review of management practices. The fiasco which occurred with VECO lost our co-op members millions of dollars in a lawsuit which should have been avoided. HEA members continually find the co-op using the HEA banking lines of credit, which future generations will have to pay back. This is not sound fiscal policy.
We need to make sure that all large contracts are awarded and administered by co-op rules. No project should be split into smaller segments to avoid scrutiny of the board.
In closing, I am a full-time Alaskan all year long. My family and I want to serve our fellow peninsula residents, and I do believe that I can make a difference for all of us with your vote.
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