Local Students Take Behind-the-Scenes Tour of MEA Power Plant

Local Students Take Behind-the-Scenes Tour of MEA Power Plant

December 7, 2017

Nearly 60 students earned a behind-the-scenes tour of MEA’s Eklutna Generation Station as winners of this year’s Power Pledge Challenge. Brad Kirr’s second period science class from Gruening Middle School was the regional winner for Eagle River/Mat-Su and Jenny Tennant’s sixth period science class from Palmer Junior Middle School was the statewide winner. In addition to the tour/lunch for the class, Ms. Tennant also took home $1,200 in energy gear for her classroom. “This is a good experience for our students,” said Tennant, “It gets them thinking about their personal energy consumption and start connecting that to what their families are spending on electricity. It’s a cool field trip.”

Over 1,800 eighth grade students from the Mat-Su and Eagle River area recently completed the 2017 Power Pledge Challenge in collaboration with Renewable Energy of Alaska (REAP) and other Alaska utilities.

The Power Pledge Challenge began in 2012, offering energy presentations to 700 students in the Anchorage area. The now statewide initiative is held through support of Alaska Energy Authority, Alaska Energy Light & Power, Alaska Housing Finance Corporation, Chugach Electric Association, ENSTAR Natural Gas Co., Homer Electric Association, Matanuska Electric Association, Municipal Light and Power, and Renewable Energy Alaska Project.

 

Above: Power Pledge Challenge 2017 Statewide Winner, Jenny Tennant’s sixth period class from PJMS.

Photo credit: Tim Leach

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Matanuska Electric Association, Inc., Alaska’s oldest existing and second-largest electric cooperative, is owned and operated by its 50,000 members. MEA’s service area covers more than 4,400 miles of power lines in Southcentral Alaska. The co-op is dedicated to working with utilities statewide to provide consumers with affordable and reliable energy. More information at www.mea.coop.

MEA Announces Christmas Lights Contest

MEA Announces Christmas Lights Contest

December 1, 2017

Matanuska Electric Association will award $200 in free electricity to one residential and one business member through the second annual MEA Christmas Lights Contest. Last year the contest drew nearly 30 residential and business entries, with Jeremiah Frye and Bionic Chiropractic taking home the top prizes.

Members in MEA’s service area with either an indoor or outdoor display can enter by submitting one photo of their exhibition via a Facebook message to the MEA Facebook page or by email to Community and Member Relations Coordinator, Kierre Childers, at kierre.childers@mea.coop by Sunday, December 10. Members and Facebook fans will have the chance to vote for their favorite displays from December 13-18 through MEA’s Facebook page (www.facebook.com/matanuska.electric), with a residential and business winner announced the afternoon of December 18.

Second place finishers in both the residential and business categories will receive a $100 gift certificate for electricity with third place’s prize being a $50 gift certificate. Complete contest rules and entry forms are available at www.mea.coop/lights. Contest questions and submissions can be directed to Community and Member Relations Coordinator, Kierre Childers at kierre.childers@mea.coop or 761-9323.

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Matanuska Electric Association, Inc., Alaska’s oldest existing and second-largest electric cooperative, is owned and operated by its 50,000 members. MEAs service area covers more than 4,400 miles of power lines in Southcentral Alaska. The co-op is dedicated to working with utilities statewide to provide consumers with affordable, reliable energy. More information at www.mea.coop.

Holiday 2017 Power Lines Issue

Power Lines Holiday 2017

Behind the Scenes at EGS, Christmas Lights Contest, Power Pledge Challenge Winners

MEA Restructures to Meet Members’ Needs

September/October 2017 Power Lines Issue

Power Lines September/October 2017

Rate Adjustments, Safety Corner, Energy Awareness Month, Protecting Yourself from Fraud

Power Pledge Challenge Kicks Off October Energy Awareness Month

September 20, 2017

Over 2,000 students will learn about energy efficiency next month and compete for prizes statewide as part of the Power Pledge Challenge. Utilities and organizations from Mat-Su, Anchorage, Kenai Peninsula, and Juneau host the challenge as part of Energy Awareness Month, recognized every year in October. In the challenge, students complete a hands-on activity from the AK EnergySmart curriculum, learn how to calculate their energy usage, and ways to reduce their usage at home. They then conduct an online home energy audit with their families and identify specific actions they will take to use energy more efficiently.

Over the past five years, this challenge has grown from 700 students in Anchorage to more than 2,200 throughout the state competing for regional and statewide prizes. Last year’s statewide prize winning teacher, Mayme Troutman from Wasilla Middle School, said “It’s important for students to be aware of the concept of energy and how it affects them. In 8th grade physical science the students take a deeper look at how energy is changed, transferred and the monetary/environmental impacts energy has on everybody.” Each region will award one class with a pizza party with a special guest and/or power plant tour. The statewide “grand” prize is a pizza party and $1,200 worth of energy-related classroom supplies.

There are still spots available for teachers to sign up in all four regions. The dates for presentations are below:

  • Mat-Su/Eagle River: September 18th – 29th; 8th grade science classes
  • Homer/Kenai: October 2nd – 13th; 6th and 7th grade science classes
  • Juneau: October 9th – 20th; 6th grade science classes
  • Anchorage: October 9th – 20th; 7th grade science classes

The Power Pledge Challenge is held through support of Alaska Energy Light & Power, Alaska Energy Authority, Alaska Housing Finance Corporation, Chugach Electric Association, ENSTAR Natural Gas Co., Homer Electric Association, Matanuska Electric Association, Municipal Light and Power, and Renewable Energy Alaska Project.

For more information, please contact Renewable Energy Alaska Project (REAP) – Colleen Fisk, education@realaska.org, 907-929-7770

MEA Rate Case Approved

August 28, 2017

Matanuska Electric Association (MEA), Palmer, AK: The Regulatory Commission of Alaska (RCA), approved MEA’s rate case, including adjustments to the cooperative’s revenue requirement and rate design. This was the final step in MEA’s transition to a self-generating utility from an all-requirements power purchaser.

The June 30, 2017 filing includes an overall 2.75 percent total increase to base rates. Because base rates account for only part of a monthly bill, a typical MEA member, using 680 kWh, will see less than a 1% increase to the overall monthly bill of about $1.12 per month.

“Prompt approval means cost savings for MEA members,” reports Tony Izzo.  “It is a direct reflection of the hard work and careful planning from our Board, management team and employees.”

Members will see changes to the two components of their bills that make up base rates – the Facilities Charge (a fixed monthly charge that allows recovery of some of the infrastructure necessary to deliver power) and the Energy Charge (the cost per kWh used).

The Facilities Charge will increase to $13.00 (from $5.65) for single phase users and to $30.00 (from $13.37) for three-phase users. This is the first increase of this flat monthly charge since 1999 despite the rising cost of doing business and brings MEA’s charge closer to the average of the other Railbelt utilities.

The increase of this monthly charge allows the per-kWh ‘Energy Charge’ to decrease for MEA’s typical member (from $0.12556 to $0.11640 per kWh). This will have a leveling impact to most members’ bills and reduce seasonal fluctuations.  The change also ensures high energy users are not subsidizing low energy users.

“The adjustment to our base rate structure means that the cost per-kWh is less for our members,” remarked Izzo.  “This will be helpful during the upcoming winter season.”

Other changes from the approved rate case include:

  • Closing the undersubscribed Off-Peak Thermal Storage program to new applicants. However, current members of the program will be grandfathered in at their current residence.
  • Addition of an optional Standby and Buyback service for small power producers who do not meet the definition of a Qualifying Facility under the RCA’s regulations.
  • A new LED streetlight service.
  • Removal of several unused experimental rate services.
  • Revised contract path transmission rates and a new Large Power Contract service.

The RCA approval process for this filing included a standard 30-day public notice and comment period. The approved changes will take affect September 1, 2017.

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Matanuska Electric Association, Inc., Alaska’s oldest existing and second-largest electric cooperative, is owned and operated by its 50,000 members. MEA’s service area covers more than 4,300 miles of power lines in Southcentral Alaska. The co-op is dedicated to working with utilities statewide to provide consumers with affordable, reliable energy. More information at www.mea.coop.

July/August 2017 Power Lines Issue

Power Lines July/August 2017

MEA Files Rate Case, The High Cost of Power Theft, Your Pennies at Work

MEA Files Rate Case

MEA FILES RATE CASE

June 30, 2017

Matanuska Electric Association (MEA) is pleased to report it has completed the transition from an all-requirements, wholesale power purchaser to a vertically integrated, self-generating electric utility with the filing of its rate case reflecting the costs and benefits of the Eklutna Generation Station (EGS) with the Regulatory Commission of Alaska (RCA).

MEA’s filing is based on actual, audited cost data gathered over the course of 2016.  MEA’s filing requests RCA approval for a 2.75 percent total increase to base rates, which, for a typical MEA member using 680 kWh, equates to approximately $1.12 per month and is less than a 1% change to the overall monthly bill.  Even with this minimal rate increase, MEA members receive some of the lowest cost power on the Railbelt.

“Over the last year, MEA collected detailed cost data necessary to understand with specificity the rate impact of moving to self-generation,” said MEA CEO and General Manager Tony Izzo.  “Today’s filing seeking only a small rate adjustment reflects the careful planning of the Board and management for transition to self-generation and the conscientious execution of that transition plan by all MEA employees.”

After one full year of operations, EGS’ unique design demonstrated it is the most efficient power plant to serve MEA’s load, using less fuel over the year to produce a megawatt of power when compared to all other thermal generation in the Railbelt, according to data compiled for a recent study from the Alaska Energy Authority.

In addition, EGS has provided a new and valuable service to the Railbelt – small, efficient increments of power – bringing additional sales revenues to offset costs for MEA members, as well as opportunities for Railbelt-wide savings.

During this time, MEA also invested in system reliability improvements including a new advanced metering system, improved right-of-way clearing, additional transmission assets and other infrastructure upgrades.

‘To have achieved all of this with only a small rate adjustment is the result of conservative, transparent and prudent financial management,’ says Izzo. ‘MEA is committed to maintaining its strong financial position and aggressively managing its business to reduce the impact of rising costs.’

MEA’s filing will include a public comment period.  MEA has requested RCA approval for implementing its new rates in 45 days.  RCA procedures include provision for suspension of a filing and opening of a formal docket to evaluate a rate filing.  In the event the RCA opens a formal docket in regard to MEA’s filing, MEA will not seek an interim rate increase during the RCA’s review and existing approved base rates would remain unchanged until the RCA issues its ruling.

MEA’s last rate case filed was in 1999. This rate case was requested by the RCA to correspond with MEA’s transformation to a self-generating, vertically-integrated utility.

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Matanuska Electric Association, Inc., Alaska’s oldest existing and second-largest electric cooperative, is owned and operated by its 50,000 members. MEA’s service area covers more than 4,300 miles of power lines in Southcentral Alaska. The co-op is dedicated to working with utilities statewide to provide consumers with affordable, reliable energy. More information at www.mea.coop.