HEA announces rate increase

Due to the increase in the energy rate and the Cost of Power Adjustment, Homer Electric Association monthly residential service bills will reflect an average increase of nearly $13 starting May 1 — including the first rise in energy rates since 2013.

The estimate is based on the average HEA member using 630 kilowatt-hours per month, according to an HEA press release.

The Cost of Power Adjustment, or COPA, which is adjusted quarterly, will increase by approximately one cent per kilowatt-hour, from $0.069 to $0.078 cents per kilowatt-hour, said Joe Gallagher, HEA’s director of member relations. Power adjustment changes are based on fuel costs, and starting April 1 the new COPA rate will go into effect for all HEA members, he said.

“The increase in the energy rate, from $0.137 to $0.148 cents per kilowatt-hour, is based on the fact that we haven’t had an increase in the base energy rate in almost two years,” Gallagher said. “Everything’s gotten more expensive — everything that goes into producing power.”

The company has added generation plants, substations and transmission lines to their inventory in recent years, according to the press release.

“We have the Nikiski Combined Cycle Plant in Nikiski and the Soldotna Combustion Turbine Plant in Soldotna,” Gallagher said. “Both are completed and operational. In addition, we purchased the Bernice Lake power plant in Nikiski from Chugach Electric in 2011.”

The projects are 1980s infrastructure replacements for the most part, according to the press release, the cost of which was expensive. HEA is currently in the filing process for the request through the Regulatory Commission of Alaska, according to the press release.

“We expect that the rate filings will be approved by the RCA and go into effect,” Gallagher said.

Kelly Sullivan is a reporter for the Peninsula Clarion.