Homer Electric by-mail ballot deadline today

Association members have another chance to vote at Thursday’s annual meeting

Posted: Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Today is the deadline for casting your 2007 Homer Electric Association ballot and registering your votes on a pair of propositions and your choices for district candidates.

Voting packets were mailed to approximately 20,200 HEA members in early April. By-mail ballots must be received in the Homer HEA office no later than 5 p.m. today.

If you miss that deadline, you can vote in person on Thursday at HEA’s annual meeting at Kenai Central High School at 6 p.m.

A nine-member board of directors governs the electrical cooperative. One seat in each of HEA’s trio of three-seat election districts comes up each year for vote. Voters can vote only for candidates in their district.

The following biographical material comes from the HEA election pamphlet:

District 1 includes Kenai and Nikiski. Only one candidate is on the ballot, Michael L. Nugent, an incumbent and the board’s current secretary-treasurer. Nugent has been a member of the association for 20 years. A resident of Nikiski, Nugent has past board experience, including stints on the Unocal Employees Federal Credit Union, the Alaska State Chamber of Commerce, the Kenai Chamber of Commerce, North Peninsula Chamber of Commerce, and the HEA board since 2003.

He is a retired mechanical engineer, a profession that included serving six years as general manager of Agrium’s Kenai Nitrogen Operations.

Nugent said his main goal is ensuring reliable and affordable electrical service.

District 2 includes Soldotna, Sterling and part of Kasilof. Two candidates are vying for the open seat.

Debbie Debnam, of Sterling, is the incumbent. She has been a member of the association for more than 13 years and has served on the board for six. She is the board’s deputy secretary. She has also held the positions of secretary-treasurer, finance committee chair, and been a voting delegate to the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association, the utilities Cooperative Finance Corp., and other utility-related organizations.

She is a business owner and an independent business and financial consultant.

She said she would work to minimize escalating costs due to a weakening supply of natural gas. She also said she supports investigating new technologies and alternative energy sources for power generation.

Her opponent is long-time Soldotna resident Ed Oberts, a local realtor who served as former Borough Mayor Dale Bagley’s chief administrative officer. He also has experience in the oil and gas, tourism and fishing industries, according to his HEA election bio.

He lists as past board experience serving as president of the Kenai Peninsula Food Bank, an elected member of the Central Emergency Services board, and was appointed to the Kenai Peninsula Economic Development District Board.

He said he is concerned about future electrical rates and the influence of local natural gas pricing. His goals will be safety, reliability, and low-cost electricity.

Four candidates are seeking the District 3 seat, which covers a broad area from Kasilof to Nanwalek.

Roseleen (Snook) Moore, of Homer, is the incumbent, a member of HEA for over 30 years and a board member for six.

She has been a member of the board numerous fisheries organizations, including the Alaska Commercial Fishing and Agriculture Bank, United Fishermen of Alaska, the North Pacific Fisheries Association, the Women’s Fisheries Network and others. She is co-owner of Northern Enterprises Boat Yard and is an owner/operator of fishing operation in Cook Inlet, the Alaska Peninsula, Bristol Bay, and Prince William Sound.

Moore said her main goal was to keep electrical rates competitive with the rest of the Railbelt.

Challenging Moore, are Loren Ahlers, of Kasilof, Jenny Dewees, of Homer, and Brian Hirsch, of Homer.

Ahlers has been a member for two years, having recently moved here from Kaktovik, where, among other things, he served as a city council member and mayor. He was a charter member of the North Slope Borough Utility Board, and a charter member of the North Slope Borough Electric Enterprise Tariff Board, as well as a member of the Arctic Slope Telephone Association Cooperative.

He has a broad work experience that includes, among other things, being a mechanical operator at the Barter Island Dew Line Site, a member of the Operating Engineers Local 302, and the owner of Barter Island Electric, which provided electricity to Kaktovik.

He said he believes HEA needs to become self-sufficient in electrical generation capacity and provide reliable and economical power.

Dewees has been a member of HEA for 10 years. Her bio lists her work experience as waitressing, childcare, care-giving, and customer service.

She said that if elected her main goal would be to keep members informed of developments in HEA’s progress with the Alaska Industrial Development and Export Authority on issues pertaining to the Healy Coal power plant.

Hirsch has been an HEA member for five years. His board experience includes serving as chair of Cook Inlet Alliance, president of Fireweed Academy, and being a founding member of Growing Power Inc., a community food security organization. He is also a founding member of the Sustainable Energy Council of the Alaska Peninsula.

His work experience includes being development director of the Yukon River Inter-Tribal Watershed Council, executive director of Earth Energy Systems, and working as a private consultant.

If elected, he said he would research and develop alternative energy technologies, increase reliability of power distribution, promote renewable energy on new and existing construction, increase training and job opportunities, and conserve non-renewable resources.

There are two propositions on the ballot.

Proposition 1 proposes an amendment to the bylaws deleting the practice of receiving director nominations from the floor at the annual meeting, which is considered inconsistent with the practice of voting by mail and the election of directors by district.

Proposition 2 proposes an amendment to the bylaws to permit early payment of discounted capital credits and retention of non-patronage sourced margins.

Margins represent the difference between operating expenses and revenues. The non-profit cooperative returns a portion of those margins to the membership in the form of capital credits, which are based on the amount of electricity purchased by a member in a given year.

According to HEA, it may be advantageous to have the ability to retire capital credits early, and to accumulate capital from sources other than margins. The change is expected to result in lower rates.

Energy incentives: HEA giving away plenty of door prizes at annual meeting

Go ahead, leave the lights on, the door open and the heat cranked up.

Simply by attending Homer Electric Association’s annual meeting at Kenai Central High School on Thursday starting at 6 p.m. makes you eligible for some door prizes that could salve the wound in your wallet. In fact, you could be heating and lighting you home for a year for free.

That’s the grand door prize, with the caveat that it can’t exceed 10,000 kilowatt-hours.

Other prizes include energy credits of $500, $250, $200, $150, $100, and $50. Additionally, HEA will give equivalent credits to the winners of a drawing among those who mailed in their ballots.

Free surge protectors will be given to the first 150 registered members through the door Thursday. Registration begins at 4:30 p.m. and the business meeting starts at 6 p.m.

Complimentary food and beverages will be served from 4:30 until the business meeting begins at 6 p.m.

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