Hailing from Northern Minnesota, Brad Janorschke has assumed the manager's position for consumer owned Homer Electric Association. Grand Moret, in Cook County Minnesota is very similar to the Kenai Peninsula according to Janorschke, "The wilderness and wildlife are very similar as are the strongly based tourism economy, but like everything in Alaska and indeed the utility generation itself is much bigger, and that's kind of a new twist for me," said Janorschke. Janorschke moved to Alaska with his wife, Sarah and three children, Alex, Meghan, and Sam. After considerable debate between the HEA offices in Homer and Kenai, the family chose to settle in the Central Peninsula, "I left the final decision up to my wife and that got me off the hook with the employees, but we have decided to buy a place just south of Soldotna, and while the whole Peninsula will be our home, we'll be residing there," said Janorschke.
Janorschke told the Soldotna Chamber of Commerce that his honeymoon welcome to Alaska would be short lived, as HEA members would be seeing a rate hike on their July billings. "The rate increase is not caused by anything that we are responsible for here on the peninsula, it is caused solely from the price of fuel for our generation that we purchase from the wholesaler. So it is really out of our hands in the short term and is just a cost passed through just like we see at the gas pumps, but in the long term we are looking at diversified generation sources," explained Janorschke. He went on to say that those fuel costs are based on a six month average so that if the price of natural gas went down in the future, consumer prices would reflect that reduction in January. Janorschke is optimistic about the future and sees many opportunities such as new discoveries, a natural gas pipeline to the Cook Inlet from the North Slope, and the proposed Northern Dynasty mining operations as potentially having a very positive effect on HEA operations that could translate to cost savings to its members.
Arriving at the height of the wild fire season, Janorschke expressed the utilities concern regarding natural disasters, "The greatest exposure we have to any natural disaster is that utilities cannot afford and insurance companies will not provide coverage for any of our plants out in the field, so if there is loss due to a natural disaster that is not declared a federal disaster from FEMA, then the utility's rate payers have to shoulder the costs of repairs," said Janorschke.
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