If you’ve noticed a slight decline in your electric bill this year, it’s because very little diesel fuel is used to generate power, according to KEA boss Darron Scott:
“Just got some recent numbers, so for the first half of this year, we’re at 99.6 percent renewable. Which has just been great. The third turbine has been a big part of that, at Terror Lake, and it’s been able to perform really well and take care of all of our peak load situations during that heavy fish processing time, you know that March-February timeframes we have really high loads. Very useful there, plus allowed to do some maintenance on our older units as well later in the spring. The wind turbines have been doing good too, and kinda combine all around.”
On a Kodiak Electric bill, there’s a line item called the “Cost of Power Adjustment,” or COPA, which represents the cost of using diesel fuel in electricity generation. The reduction in that is what’s driving the decline in electric bills. Scott says electric rates today are actually lower than they were at the turn of the century.
“If you went and used the average amount of electricity, which is around 600 KWH, I believe, your bill would have been in January of 2001 about $105 give or take a few cents. And now, this January of 2014, it was about a hundred dollars. Just over a hundred dollars. So about a 4.5 percent drop January 2001 to January 2014. And that’s no inflation numbers or anything. That’s just the real hard dollars that we see.”
And because of Kodiak’s legendary weather, Scott predicts steady electric rates in the future.
“And the great thing about the renewable is that’s going to be the cost tomorrow and the cost the next day as well. We’ve already got all those fixed costs embedded in us. And so the price of fuel, as long as we continue to get rain and win – which we probably will in Kodiak – rates should stay fairly stable for the near future.”
Though June’s rain was average, according to the National Weather Service, this spring and summer has so far been relatively sunny and mild, but not so much so that it has Scott too concerned.
“Even with this feeling that we’ve got a dry year here, at least at this point in time, our lake is in very good position. It’s very close to full. Which is great for this time. Again, we don’t have a lot of snow pack that we normally have for later in the summer. But at least at this point, it’s great shape, which is great for this time. So everything is really working together very well and according to plan.”
Kodiak Electric Association operates three hydro-electric turbines at Terror Lake, and six wind turbines atop Pillar Mountain.