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For immediate release
July 23, 2007 at 5:45pm
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Patti Bogan, 762-4736; Cell 242-0704

Chugach undertakes $1.7 million undergrounding project

Chugach Electric Association is working on its largest overhead-to-underground conversion project of the year. The $1.7 million project will replace older overhead lines with new buried cable along and adjacent to Johns Road between Klatt and Huffman roads. The project will include a section of new line extending east along Huffman Road to the Alaska Railroad track. This will tie two segments of the electric system together to provide greater operating flexibility and improved reliability.

Load growth in the area has required Chugach to upgrade the circuit in order to have sufficient capacity to serve the current residents and businesses as well as provide for any future development.

As part of the project, the telephone utility is also replacing their overhead lines with underground facilities. Cable facilities have already been placed underground. When the work is completed in September, Chugach will have replaced approximately three-quarters of a mile of overhead line with new underground cable.

The project is being paid for with money collected from Anchorage customers who pay a 2 percent charge on their monthly bills to fund overhead-to-underground conversions per a municipal ordinance.

Chugach's 5-year undergrounding plan calls for spending $21 million to convert existing overhead lines between 2007 and 2011. Projects are chosen by taking into account Chugach's overall system needs and consideration of designated target areas. The inclusion of a project within the 5-year plan does not guarantee that the project will be constructed in the designated year.

Chugach identifies and prioritizes projects based on the following criteria:

  1. Safety and code compliance
  2. Non-reimbursable portions of road improvement projects
  3. Load growth improvements
  4. Reliability
  5. Target areas defined by the Municipality of Anchorage

Overhead lines in fully developed residential areas are lower on the priority list. These lower priority projects move up when a line's outage history shows that undergrounding will improve reliability.

To review Chugach's 5-year overhead-to-underground plan, go to

Chugach is the largest electric utility in Alaska, providing power for Alaskans throughout the Railbelt through retail, wholesale and economy energy sales.