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Overhead-to-underground program active
Chugach maintains an active program to convert power lines from overhead to underground facilities within the Municipality of Anchorage. The program is the result of a State statute and a Municipal ordinance intended to accelerate the conversion of existing overhead distribution lines to underground lines.
The ordinance, passed by the Assembly in 2005, calls for utilities with overhead facilities to spend up to 2 percent of their retail revenue annually on the program. Each month, Chugach’s Anchorage customers are assessed a "2% MOA Undergrounding Charge" on their bills. For Chugach, the surcharge raises about $3 million a year to fund the program.
Per the ordinance, Chugach annually files an updated plan with the Municipality forecasting the projects it intends to do in the next 5 years. Each year it also reports on what it did the previous year. Chugach’s 2014-2018 plan is available at http://www.chugachelectric.com/inside-chugach/projects.
Between the ordinance’s passage in 2005 and the end of 2013, Chugach completed 57 projects funded by the undergrounding charge. Projects vary in size and scope, and have been done at locations throughout Chugach’s service territory within the Municipality.
One highly visible project has been progressing along the south side of Tudor Road throughout the winter. Chugach is converting about 1.5 miles of overhead distribution line to underground facilities between Elmore and Patterson. Transmission lines will remain overhead. The $1.8 million project began last fall and is expected to be completed in March.
Chugach has five conversion projects planned for 2014 at locations in Girdwood, the Hillside, East Anchorage, South Anchorage and Muldoon.