June 2017 – Bon Voyage, Nina!

by / Tuesday, 22 August 2017 / Published in Messages from the CEO

May 12 was a bittersweet day for us at AVEC. We celebrated Nina Sterbenz’ last day before retirement. Nina came to work for AVEC almost 23 years ago. She knows almost every one of AVEC’s members, and they often asked for her—that sweet lady from Shishmaref! She worked in several departments during her time at AVEC, and spent the last few years in member services.

  Nina and her husband, Chip, plan to buy a huge motor home and spend many months of the year discovering America. But they promise to always come home to share the stories of their adventures with us.

   We wish Nina a happy retirement and send her off with buckets of love and good wishes!

Construction Begins in Teller

Almost six years after the 100-year storm that devastated western Alaska and destroyed the tieline we had just built to connect Teller to Brevig Mission, we are beginning to build a new power plant and tank farm to serve Teller. FEMA recently approved disbursement of disaster funds to replace the damaged infrastructure. Soon, Teller will have a high-efficiency electric generation system to meet its needs now and into the future.

PCE Rates to Change in July

Another rite of spring is the recalculation each year of the PCE base rate. The Regulatory Commission of Alaska receives annual sales information from the five utilities that serve residential customers in Anchorage, Fairbanks and Juneau, and computes what their average rate per kilowatt-hour is. That rate has been rising steadily for the past few years and is now 17.58 cents per kWh. In 2016, the rate was 16.67 cents.

   The PCE rate for each rural utility consists of 95 percent of the utility’s actual costs above that year’s base rate. So if our cost to serve a community was 50 cents a kWh, the PCE rate for that community will soon be (50–17.58) x 95%, or 30.80 cents. Since the base rate today is 16.67 cents, today’s PCE rate is 31.66 cents. Unfortunately, this means the cost of electricity will increase by almost a penny a kWh because of the higher PCE base rate.

Welcome, Spring!

Every year in April, we start to hold our breath as we await with some dread the time that the

rivers start flowing again. In 2017, break-up went reasonably smoothly, with only a few

days during which ice jams formed and backed the water up. AVEC communities escaped any

serious damage from break-up flooding, and we are grateful for that.

   Early April also saw the returning flocks of migratory birds. We have seen many messages

about the bounty of the spring bird harvests. We wish for all of our members a rich and

bountiful spring and summer!

Until next time,

Meera Kohler
President and CEO