Last week avalanches wiped out one-and-a-half miles of power transmission lines from the Snettisham hydro-electric plant. As soon as we learned of the damage, we started working to minimize the impact to you and our community.
At this point, because of the damage to the towers and the transmission lines, almost all of Juneau's power will be diesel generated for as long as three months, which may raise costs per kilowatt hour by as much as five times, and, for now, much of that cost may be passed on to us, the customers of AEL&P, our local power utility.
There are many estimates and rumors about how much this will cost each of us, but it's too early to tell exactly what the impact will be.
Last week we contacted the governor and asked for state assistance. The City and Borough of Juneau has declared a local state of disaster, and we have been told the state will determine whether or not this situation meets the criteria.
If the governor issues a disaster declaration it will free up state dollars for relief efforts. The administration has asked all state agencies to find ways to expedite the repairs to the transmission lines and also to provide some relief for the escalating costs.
We're also working with AEL&P, Mayor Bruce Botelho and the City and Borough of Juneau, our federal delegation and other agencies to find cooperative ways to minimize the burden.
Your safety is our top concern. We are all worried about the potential high cost of energy during this crisis, but please do not put yourself or you family at risk.
While it's important to conserve as much energy as possible, it is imperative that every Juneauite remains safe at all times.
We are working hard to find solutions that will enable you to stay safe without destroying you budget.
It is heartening to know that immediately following the announcement, the people of Juneau jumped into action and began to conserve.
Right away we reduced our diesel consumption by up to 20 percent. That speaks volumes about our community. You're doing your part, and we're working hard to help.
We've included a few helpful tips on reducing energy usage to this email. We know that even with conservation efforts, the financial impact may be huge.
One avenue for relief already available is the state's LIHEAP program. This program provides grants to families that are at or below 150 percent of the poverty level. The deadline to apply is April 30, so time is running short.
You can find the application at: http://health.hss.state.ak.us/dpa/programs/hap/HAPAPP08.pdf
Information on the program can be found at:http://health.hss.state.ak.us/dpa/programs/hap/
Because time is so short, in addition to mailing the application in, you can also fax the application to 465-3319, or drop it off in person at 400 Willoughby Avenue, Suite 301.
We will continue to share information with you as we gather it.
If you have any concerns, questions, or ideas, please contact us at any time. Thanks for being part of a great community. Sen. Kim Elton, 465-4947 firstname.lastname@example.org Rep. Beth Kerttula, 465-4766 email@example.com Rep. Andrea Doll, 465-3744 firstname.lastname@example.org