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Chugach taking steps to mitigate potential wildfire hazards

With the current dry weather conditions and high fire danger, Chugach Electric Association, Inc., is taking steps to mitigate wildfire risks in its service territory, some of which could lengthen power outage times. 

Chugach is taking temporary measures to power line operations in the Anchorage Bowl, Tyonek, and Northern Kenai Peninsula. Crews will also be stepping up tree clearing on the Anchorage Hillside as long as the fire danger remains high.

The changes to power line operations include the response to re-energizing a power line. Under normal conditions, Chugach’s lines are re-energized automatically following a short-circuit. Often, if the short-circuit is temporary in nature, this action will remove the short-circuit and restore power almost immediately.  However, during the current dry weather conditions, Chugach will let the circuit stand open until Chugach’s line personnel can physically patrol an outage area before a line is placed back into service.  This temporary change in how we respond could lead to longer outage times.

“With fires burning to the north and south of us, we believe taking proactive steps to mitigate any fire danger is the right thing to do,” said Chugach CEO Lee Thibert. “Having our crews physically patrol an area before a line is re-energized is prudent action to take in these conditions. We appreciate the patience and understanding of our members during this time.”

Additionally, Chugach is working with its tree clearing contractor to increase efforts on the Anchorage Hillside to clear dead and dangerous trees from the right-of-way. Crews will be looking for potential problem areas and clearing trees under or near power lines. If trees are outside of the right-of-way and considered a potential hazard, crews will work with property owners to secure permission before clearing a tree.

Chugach will return power line operations to normal as soon as weather and conditions permit.  If you see trees close to, or in contact with, Chugach powerlines, please report them to the danger tree hotline (907) 762-7227.

Members notified of Capital Credit Allocation

Chugach members who received electric service in 2018 received their capital credit allocation message on their July billing statement. The total allocation for retail members in 2018 was just over $5.3 million.

Each year, Chugach allocates margins—revenues remaining after expenses are paid—to members receiving service during the year. These margins are allocated based on the amount of electric service a member purchases each year, compared to the total service purchased by all members. {191287349}

Capital credits are used by Chugach to provide safe, reliable electric service by investing in substations, poles, lines, and other critical infrastructure. As a not-for-profit cooperative, the capital credits are used as operating funds until they are returned to members via a retirement process. The process of retiring capital credits is determined and approved by the Chugach Board of Directors. The allocations for 2018 will be paid out as a check or a bill credit in approximately 25 years.

Chugach members elect directors

Chugach Electric Association, Inc. members re-elected Bettina Chastain and Harold Hollis to the utility’s Board of Directors. Election results were announced Tuesday night, May 21, at the electric cooperative’s annual meeting held at the Dena’ina Civic and Convention Center. Bettina Chastain, Harold Hollis, Mitchell Roth and Ron Stafford ran for the two open seats. Directors Chastain and Hollis will serve four-year terms.

Of Chugach’s 69,320 members of record, 6,719—or 9.7 percent—cast ballots in the 2019 election. A total of 244 members registered at the meeting, with attendance estimated at between 450-500 people.

Director Chastain was first elected to the board in 2015. Director Hollis was appointed in July 2018, after former Director Sisi Cooper resigned from the board.

At this year’s annual meeting, Chugach members also approved two bylaw changes. The first clarified residency requirements for board members; the second expanded the number of trainings and educational conferences board members can attend annually while representing the cooperative. The Board of Directors elected new officers Wednesday night at a regularly-scheduled meeting. Bettina Chastain was re-elected Chair; Susan Reeves was re-elected Vice-Chair; Stuart Parks was re-elected Secretary; and Rachel Morse was re-elected Treasurer.

Chugach’s 2018 Annual Report is available and on-line at



Annual Meeting and Election

Chugach’s annual election is underway. Members can vote for two seats on the Chugach Board of Directors and two proposed bylaw changes. For more information click here.