June 2016 – Looking Back to the Year 2000.Posted: August 24, 2016
It seems like only yesterday, but it has been 16 eventful years since I came to AVEC as your president and CEO. So much has happened since then. I thought it would be interesting to look back on all we have accomplished.
At the end of 1999, we served 21,000 Alaskans in 51 communities and sold 54 million kilowatt-hours for total revenue of $21 million. Fuel was $1.21 a gallon, and we used 5.1 million gallons, selling about 10.5 kWh per gallon of fuel. Our line loss was 7.8 percent, and our cost to produce a kWh was 37.8 cents, with non-fuel costs accounting for 25.47 cents and the remaining 12.33 cents for fuel.
In 2016, we now serve 32,000 Alaskans in 56 communities. We sold 113 million kWh last year for total revenue of $59 million. The cost of fuel was $3.41 a gallon, and we used 8.5 million gallons. We sold 13.5 kWh per gallon of fuel, and our line loss was 3.51 percent—among the best in the nation. Despite the fact that fuel cost almost three times what it did in 1999, our total cost per kWh was 49.6 cents, with 28.6 cents of that being for fuel and the other 21 cents for non-fuel cost.
In the meantime, our investment in utility plant—power plants and distribution systems—has doubled from $74 million to $148 million. That does not include an additional $200 million grant-funded plant we have built since 2000. In 2000, we owed $31 million in long-term debt or 42 percent of our plant investment. Today, we owe $51 million, or 34 percent of our plant value. Sixteen years ago, we returned a total of $9 million in patronage capital credits. That figure today stands at $20 million.
We have the state’s largest wind fleet—34 turbines at 11 locations—and we own two state-of-the-art tug-and-barge sets that deliver most of the fuel we use in our remote locations. We have built five interties to connect villages, allowing us to shut down five vintage power plants while improving the quality of service for all the intertied communities.
We have the best workforce we have ever had, in my opinion. We are regarded as the state’s leading expert on rural Alaska electrification and the country’s most advanced microgrid operator.
We have been able to accomplish all of this because every AVEC employee has the same motivation: to provide the best possible utility service to you, our members and our partners. Thank you for allowing us to work for you.