CVEA back on hydro
The cost of fuel for a kwh of electricity was 24.30 cents on May electricity bills for residential customers of Copper Valley Electric Association. Consumers will pay 15.58 cents after an 8.72 cent fuel credit is applied. On Friday, May 25, CEO Bob Wilkinson announced the co-op was generating 100 percent of its electricity from the Solomon Gulch Hydroelectric Plant. Bills that will go out to consumers on June 20 will be calculated using a new format generated by a CVEA rate study according to Jaime Matthews of CVEA. An in depth look at the new format will be featured in a future edition of the Valdez Star.
The Alaska Dept. of Transportation announced a new policy that mandates ferries on the Alaska Marine Highway System (AMHS) bypass ports of call if there are no reserved passengers 24 hours before its slated departure time.
“The new policy states that an AMHS ferry will bypass a port call if there is no scheduled traffic destined into or out of that particular port,” DOT said in a press release issued Tuesday morning.
“Scheduled traffic is defined as a reservation in place 24 hours in advance of the scheduled departure time from the port in question.”
DOT said port calls with zero traffic are relatively uncommon throughout the Alaska ferry system, but in 2011 AMHS ferries made ten port calls – including one in Valdez - where there was not any traffic on or off the ship. DOT reports that the M/V Aurora recently conserved over 2,200 gallons of fuel by canceling a roundtrip sailing between Valdez and Whittier. Travelers are encouraged to make reservations in advance.
Computers for foster kids needed
A push is being made this summer to try to pair Alaska foster youth with donated laptop computers. The effort is a collaboration between Anchorage state Rep. Les Gara and the nonprofit Facing Foster Care in Alaska.
Gara's office, in a news release, says about 125 foster youth have benefited from the program over the past two years. Gara, who had been in foster care himself as a youth, says a laptop can make a difference in a child's life, as the youth can use the computers for school work and to stay connected with loved ones from whom they're separated.
Those wishing to donate laptops that work well, have Internet and word processing capabilities and are less than four years old can contact Gara's office at 907-269-0106.
Pipeline shutdowns commence
The Trans-Alaska Pipeline had a routine eight hour shutdown May 27 to remove the bypass and restore normal flow at Pump Station 5 according to a press release from Alyeska’s corporate communications. The shutdown was also held to perform SIPPS (Safety Integrity Pressure Protection System) work at Pump Station 3 and was scheduled to last 18 hours. Another18 hour shutdown for mainline valve testing (Pump Station 5 to Pump Station 7) and SIPPS work at Pump Station 11 are slated for June 2.
Two other planned shutdowns to install straight pipe at Pump Station 6 are tentatively scheduled for July 28 and August 5, according to Alyeska.
A Time to Remember
Boy Scouts raised the flag Monday during the Memorial Day remembrance ceremony at the veterans park on Galena St. The clouds parted and rays of sunshine beamed down on Valdez at the ceremony’s end, which featured TAPS by Kelly Hawkins and son, words of remembrance and a short prayer.
“Alyeska conducts line-wide shutdowns annually to allow maintenance crews time to work on projects simultaneously along the pipeline and at the Valdez Marine Terminal,” the press release said. “Shutdowns typically coincide with producers’ routine maintenance on equipment and facilities on the North Slope.”
Coasties rescue fishing tender crew
Hours after the Coast Guard rescued five people from a fishing tender, the crippled vessel ran aground on a remote beach southeast of Cordova. Coast Guard spokeswoman Sara Francis says the 55-foot St. Joseph was carrying 1,400 gallons of diesel fuel when it washed up on a beach sometime Saturday. She says there's no sign that the fuel is leaking, and vessel's owner is working with the Coast Guard on the best way to get the boat off the beach. Shortly before midnight Friday, a Coast Guard helicopter airlifted the five crew members from the St. Joseph after it lost steering in heavy seas about 50 miles southeast of Cordova. Francis says that the tides and currents then carried the abandoned vessel to the beach. Its laying on its side and a Volkswagen sedan that was being transported spilled from its deck and is lying nearby.