The Ketchikan City Council on Thursday spent a long time talking about a report calling for streamlining operations at the two Southeast Alaska Power Agency hydroelectric dams.
The Council ultimately voted to 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 an estimated $450,000 to $500,000 in annual savings for SEAPA.
Council Member Dick Coose spoke to KRBD Friday after the meeting.
“I think there’s a lot of concerns and a lot of issues, and the timing wasn’t quite right,” he said. “But the SEAPA board will have to deal with it. This is just an advisory from the City Council.”
KPU officials disagreed with findings in the SEAPA report, and say reliability, cost, efficiency and safety could be compromised by canceling the contracts. They say current contracts could be revised, leading to similar cost savings.
The Southeast Alaska Power Agency owns the dams at Swan and Tyee, which provide power to Ketchikan, Wrangell and Petersburg. Representatives from each community serve on the agency’s board. The next SEAPA board meeting is Dec. 11th in Ketchikan.