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Electric vehicle charger installed at Dimond Center

The Dimond Center is the latest Anchorage business to team up with Chugach Electric on an electric vehicle (EV) charging station. The Dimond Center has installed a facility to charge electric vehicles on the west side of the mall, near a main entrance. The installation was completed with financial assistance from Chugach as part of a research project to gather information about the use of publicly available chargers in Anchorage.

The charging station was unveiled Friday, Oct. 2 at a ribbon cutting to coincide with National Drive Electric Week, which is Sept. 26 to Oct. 4. National Drive Electric Week is a nationwide celebration to raise awareness of the many benefits of all-electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles.

“We’re very happy to have the Dimond Center partner with us on this EV charging station as it’s a key location in Anchorage,” said Chugach CEO Lee Thibert. “Our charging program has multiple benefits for members and the whole community. We are learning more about the use of publicly available chargers while also helping attract customers to businesses and providing places for EV drivers throughout the Railbelt to charge when they’re away from home.”

“As a local family-owned business, Dimond Center always looks for ways to serve its customers better,” said Hugh Ashlock, with Dimond Center. “We feel this is a tremendous opportunity to jumpstart the electric vehicle movement in our state and we are excited to welcome EV drivers to the largest mixed-use facility in Alaska.”

The Dimond Center charging station is the third such facility funded in part by the Chugach program.  Similar installations were completed earlier at the Alyeska Resort and JL Properties’ South Anchorage Mall.  An additional installation is planned for a Municipal parking lot in West Anchorage.  The installations are for Level 2 charging equipment with universal connectors.  Like the other installations, the Dimond Center facility can charge two electric vehicles at the same time.  An hour of charging can add 25-30 miles of driving range to the batteries of electric vehicles.  

As part of the program Chugach contributed up to $7,500 toward the actual installed cost of the charging facility. The charging station will be selected, installed, owned, and maintained by the customer for the duration of the three-year research period.

For more information on Chugach’s EV incentive program, go to https://www.chugachelectric.com/energy-solutions/electric-vehicles

For more information on National Drive Electric Week, go to https://driveelectricweek.org/

Chugach offers electric vehicle incentive programs

Chugach is offering several new electric vehicle (EV) related incentives to promote the use of EVs in Alaska. Individually, the incentives are intended to help the utility’s members interested in owning and driving an EV and the businesses that would like to serve them. Collectively, the programs will help Chugach learn more about the trend toward transportation electrification and its impacts on the power grid.

There are two types of EVs that connect to the grid, and both qualify for the incentive programs. Battery electric vehicles are all-electric and generally have a range of 200-300 miles on a full charge. Plug-in electric hybrids travel for a limited range (25-40 miles) on battery power before switching to an internal combustion engine. Both are present in Alaska.

The incentive programs from Chugach provide bill credits for residential and commercial members who install charging equipment. Additional programs target specific types of members, like hotels and fleet owners, with reimbursements for adding EV charging stations. All are available now for Chugach members. Another Chugach program will be available in the future once rental car companies begin offering EVs for rent. One will help pay the cost of an extended rental for Chugach members who want to see what it is like to drive an EV. The other will help lease an EV for one or more Chugach members who are transportation network drivers.

Chugach has multiple goals in offering the initiatives including helping members build business, reducing range anxiety for drivers, and growing beneficial load that spreads fixed costs across more unit sales. An additional benefit of the program is to gain information that may be useful in the development of alternative rate options for EV charging.

Background

The new Chugach programs follow an EV charging research program initiated by the cooperative in 2019. Under that program, Chugach is helping interested commercial members install publicly available charging stations in exchange for 36 months of usage information. So far charging stations have been installed by Alyeska Resort and JL Properties (for the South Anchorage Mall complex that includes South Restaurant and other businesses), with others at the Dimond Center and a Municipality of Anchorage parking lot near The Rustic Goat expected later this year. Early indications are that EV drivers are finding and using these facilities, and in the process attracting business to the hosts.

Ultimately, Chugach wants to be prepared to serve what is forecast to be an increasing shift to electric vehicles in coming years. Chugach’s own research has shown a near-doubling of the number of electric vehicles registered in Alaska in the last few years. At the end of June, there were nearly 1,200 EVs in Alaska, with almost half of them registered to addresses in the Railbelt.

More information and applications for the new programs are available at https://www.chugachelectric.com/energy-solutions/electric-vehicles

Chugach kicks off summer 2020 right-of-way clearing program

Wildfire danger makes tree clearing top priority

Chugach Electric Assoc., is kicking off its 2020 summer right-of-way clearing program, reminding members of the need to keep utility easements free of trees and other vegetation. In order to provide safe and reliable service to members, Chugach clears trees year-round but has a more robust program in the summer when it is easier to access a utility easement, also called the right-of-way.

Trees falling into power lines are one of the leading causes of power outages, and keeping the easement clear reduces tree-related outages. A clear right-of-way also allows line crews to access power lines and restore outages quickly and safely. The threat of wildfires from dead Spruce Bark Beetle killed trees is increasing across the Municipality of Anchorage, particularly on the Anchorage Hillside, reinforcing the need for robust tree clearing.

In the summer of 2019, both the Matanuska Susitna Valley and the Kenai Peninsula suffered major wildfires that burned structures and electric power infrastructure. The 115-kilovolt transmission line connecting the Bradley Lake hydroelectric project near Homer to Chugach and other utilities north of Cooper Landing was damaged by the Swan Lake Fire, and the line was out of service for several months. Utilities were unable to access power from Bradley Lake when the line was down, which meant more expensive gas-fired power had to be used when the renewable hydro power was not available.

Chugach has posted its 2020 Vegetation Management Plan on its website outlining the communication, processes and procedures used in right-of-way clearing. It includes what is cleared, how its cleared, notification procedures, and other frequently asked questions.

https://www.chugachelectric.com/safety-community/right-of-way-clearing

Chugach members elect two new directors

Chugach Electric Association, Inc. members elected Sam Cason and Mark Wiggin to the utility’s board of directors. Election results were announced Monday night at the electric cooperative’s annual meeting held for the first time in a virtual platform in order to comply with health and safety concerns around the COVID-19 pandemic.

Brad Authier, Sam Cason, Mitchell Roth, and Mark Wiggin ran for the two open seats vacated by Harry Crawford and Susan Reeves who had both reached their term limits. Cason and Wiggin will each serve four-year terms.

Of Chugach’s 69,589 members of record, 8,249—or 12 percent—cast ballots in the 2020 election. That is an increase of 23 percent over the 2019 election. More than 100 members signed up to view the virtual annual meeting via a livestream. A recording of the meeting is posted on the Chugach website at https://www.chugachelectric.com/media/annual-meeting-election.

The Chugach Board of Directors will elect new officers at the next regular meeting scheduled for June 17.

Chugach’s 2019 Annual Report is available on-line at https://www.chugachelectric.com/media/annual-reports