City of Ketchikan officials want to hand operation and maintenance of the Swan Lake Hydroelectric Project over to the regional power agency that actually owns it.
The Ketchikan City Council will vote on that issue during its regular meeting on Thursday.
Southeast Alaska Power Agency owns the hydroelectric power facilities at Swan Lake near Ketchikan and Tyee Lake near Wrangell. But, through an agreement with the city-run Ketchikan Public Utilities, KPU crew members are in charge of Swan Lake operations.
KPU has operated the dam since 1996, when it was part of the now-defunct Four Dam Pool Power Agency. According to a memo from City and KPU Manager Karl Amylon, the city wants to end that responsibility to relieve financial and staffing pressure.
He writes that the city also is taking on liability by continuing to operate SEAPA’s dam. Amylon and KPU Electric Division Manager Andy Donato recommend that the Ketchikan City Council allow them to start the process of transferring operation and maintenance control to SEAPA.
Amylon adds that SEAPA CEO Trey Acteson is open to discussing that transfer, and plans to attend Thursday’s council meeting.
SEAPA is a joint organization formed by Ketchikan, Wrangell and Petersburg. It sells power from its two hydroelectric plants to the member communities.
SEAPA has operated the Tyee facility since 2014. Two years ago, there was a push, led by Acteson, for SEAPA to also take over operations at Swan Lake, but the board of directors tabled the issue at that time. Below is a link to a report on that discussion.
Also Thursday, the council has an executive session planned to discuss reopening contract negotiations with the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers. The council will review retention and recruitment problems brought forward by IBEW representatives.
The meeting starts at 7 p.m. in city council chambers at City Hall. Public comment will be heard at the start of the meeting.