Homer Alaska - Letters

Story last updated at 3:38 PM on Wednesday, February 1, 2012

HEA rate change short-sighted

Why is Homer Electric Association allowed to be so short-sighted?

I think that during the next year(s), this rate increase as passed, will not produce the income that HEA needs to stay operational. Low-end users like me will just disconnect from the grid and then reconnect when needed. This will affect the cash flow that this 150kw minimum usage charge is supposed to create.

These low-end users will cause more costs with these reconnect and disconnect actions. HEA will have to raise fees to discourage this action — which in turn will raise prices and users will seek alternatives to the grid. Then, the size of the cooperative will shrink, spreading the costs of operation across a smaller group, who will see more rate increases.

Monopolies such as HEA do get competition, usually caused by their own actions. HEA restricts the production of power from a residential source tied into the grid, to 25kw, which protects the monopoly. The economy of scale is restricted.

The costs to an HEA member to install a 50kw, 100kw or a 250kw production unit, per kilowatt produced, are comparable to an 25kw unit(s) when excess power is sold to the Grid. (See http://www.powerworks.com/250kw_wind_turbine.aspx.)

The effects of the Jan. 1 rate change will affect my membership in the HEA cooperative as I and others assess alternatives.

Ward Person