Local News

Council to consider SEAPA streamlining report

A report calling for streamlining operations at the two Southeast Alaska Power Agency hydroelectric dams is back on the table for Thursday’s regular Ketchikan City Council meeting.

City Manager Karl Amylon recommends that the Council essentially reject the report from D. Hittle and Associates, and send the city’s objections to the SEAPA board.

The consultants noted a rising trend in the agency’s expenses, and suggested hiring a single operator for both the Swan Lake and Tyee Lake dams. Right now, Ketchikan Public Utilities operates Swan Lake, and Thomas Bay Power Authority runs Tyee. Along with some other recommendations in the report, the change would lead to $450,000 to $500,000 in annual savings for SEAPA.

KPU officials disagree with the report’s findings, and say reliability, cost, efficiency and safety could be compromised by taking such a step. They say the current contracts could be revised, leading to similar cost savings for SEAPA.

The Southeast Alaska Power Agency is an independent agency that serves Ketchikan, Wrangell and Petersburg. Representatives from each community’s utility serve on the agency’s board. The next SEAPA board meeting is Dec. 11th in Ketchikan.

Also on Thursday, the City Council will discuss the makeup of the Lobbying Executive Committee. That committee includes representatives from the cities of Ketchikan and Saxman, and from the Ketchikan Gateway Borough. The group considers community capital projects that will be submitted each year to the state Legislature for potential funding.

The Council meeting starts at 7 p.m. in City Council chambers. Public comment will be heard at the beginning of the meeting.

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