Local News

Wrangell officials offer more specifics to SEAPA board members

Wrangell Borough officials are still advising Southeast Alaska Power Agency board members to investigate a single-contract operations and management plan. This is based on action taken during a special meeting Friday afternoon.

Wrangell City Hall

The motion, which was made by Vice Mayor Bill Privett, holds the same sentiment as the original motion he made during last week’s regular meeting. Only this one has a few more stipulations.

“Your honor, I would move to instruct the Wrangell SEAPA board representatives to enforce the power sales agreement as our guide in all actions and recognize that Petersburg and Wrangell share equally 100 percent of operating capacity of Tyee hydro. And also that the operations and maintenance agreement be reviewed and consolidated under one operator with cooperation and approval of the three municipal owners: The City of Ketchikan, the City of Petersburg, and the City and Borough of Wrangell,” he said.

Privett also mentioned the need to at least consider divestiture of SEAPA. Ernie Christian spoke during the public comment section of the meeting. He said there is a memorandum of understanding with the agreement that states SEAPA is supposed to look at total divestiture in 2015.

“Thomas Bay has been running and operating Tyee for 38 years, just like KPU has been doing the same in Ketchikan. Why do we need SEAPA? I’ve been an advocate of total divestiture from day one. And that’s the overall goal, the reason why the state buildings project is so the communities can own them. Just like Kodiak owns theirs now, Copper River Valley owns theirs. I think Wrangell and Petersburg needs to own Tyee,” he said.

Assembly Member James Stough said while moving forward, he would like to keep an open mind about the future of the city’s arrangement with SEAPA.

“Personally, myself, I feel that we need to always keep our options on the table. And I think that Bill is right, and I think that we should keep the option of looking at that 2015 date and talk about it. It doesn’t mean we have to do it, but we should at least be open to seeing what the options are. I think that’s the whole goal of all of these communities. It was to own their operations,” he said.

Stough, along with Mayor Don McConachie and Vice Mayor Privett, reiterated that SEAPA employees work for the municipalities. Not the other way around. SEAPA board members will meet Dec. 11 in Ketchikan.

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