As Steve Henson steps down after nearly five years as electric superintendent, Clay Hammer steps in to fill the position. With over thirteen years of experience working in the electric department Hammer says he has a number of goals in mind entering into the new position. Some goals include keeping electricity costs low and continuing to network with neighboring communities in the effort to expand the Southeast power grid. But he says those efforts start by making sure everything is running smooth locally.
“I’d like to see us have a better concentration on our maintenance and try to develop a really good maintenance program for the local community. We have really been getting pounded out the road with wind storms, and we have a lot of new construction projects going on. With construction we haven’t had a lot of opportunity to get to the damaged areas. In general I’d like to see the brush kept down and the poles up,” he says.
Recently Hammer attended the Alaska Energy Conference in Juneau. The conference covered a number of topics from the cost of fuel to potential energy alternatives for the future, such as the use of biomass. Hammer says compared to other communities in the state, Wrangell is looking very good power wise.
“We are incredibly blessed with the power we have here, its good green renewable hydro verses fossil fuel based. Most of the communities in the rest of the state have power that is still coming from diesel and they are really feeling the cost of that. We have some of the cheapest power in all of the state here, and we are really fortunate to have that,” he says.
Hammer says biomass is something that Wrangell could potentially look to in the future for its energy needs. He notes that he intends to see that things continue to run efficiently at Wrangell Municipal Light and Power, and thanks his crew for their hard work. Hammer officially started as electric superintendent October 1st. Steve Henson will continue in the position until October 21st.
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