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Stetson Creek project progresses

Contractors continue to make progress on a major construction activity at Chugach’s Cooper Lake Hydroelectric Project.  Chugach is installing infrastructure to divert much of the flow of Stetson Creek into the Cooper Lake reservoir, and an outfall structure to siphon water from the reservoir into Cooper Creek, which also drains Stetson Creek.

By replacing the cold water of Stetson Creek with relatively warmer water from the reservoir, agency biologists hope to restore fish habitat in the lower reaches of Cooper Creek where it meets the Kenai River.  Resource managers estimate the combination of projects will raise the water by  about 3 degrees F.

Construction on the $22.2 million project began in 2013 with substantial completion expected by mid-December 2014.   

Chugach estimates the diversion project will increase the annual energy output of the Cooper Lake project by about 10 percent.  Chugach is providing $12 million for the construction of this project, with a combination of State grants funding the balance.

The Stetson Creek diversion project was a condition of a new 50-year license Chugach received from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission in 2007 for the continued operation of the Cooper Lake project.  Like other hydro projects, the 19.2-megawatt Cooper Lake project provides some of the most economical energy on the Chugach system.  In 2013 the generated cost of energy from Cooper Lake averaged 4.3 cents per kilowatt-hour, compared to 7.7 cents per kwh from Chugach’s natural gas-fired plants.

Scammers threaten disconnection

One of the scams in use around the country – including in Alaska – is to call people up and threaten that their electric service will be disconnected immediately if a supposed past-due bill isn’t paid. The goal of the scammers is to obtain credit card or other financial information. Chugach does not do business this way. Before service is disconnected for non-payment, Chugach follows steps laid out in its tariff. Those steps include advance notification. Chugach also does not take credit card payments directly, but instead refers customers wishing to pay by credit card to a third-party payment service. Customers who receive a call demanding payment to avoid an immediate disconnect should hang up, call Chugach to check the status of their account and report the incident to the police (online reporting is available in Anchorage at muni.org/apd).