State Agencies Addressing
April 23, 2008
Governor Sarah Palin announced Tuesday that multiple state agencies
are working closely with Alaska Electric Light & Power (AEL&P)
to assess the damage and develop a plan to recover hydropower
Representatives from the Federal Emergency Management Agency
and the Small Business Administration are traveling to Juneau
to analyze the situation. Members of the governor's disaster
policy cabinet will meet on Wednesday to discuss declaring a
Last week, a massive avalanche destroyed a transmission tower
and more than a mile of the Snettisham Hydroelectric facility
transmission line. The line, about 40 miles from downtown, connects
hydropower to the Juneau service area. AEL&P is using diesel
generators to supply power.
"Juneau residents have really stepped up to the plate,"
Governor Palin said. "Many families and businesses are
taking some simple steps that will help keep costs down by reducing
energy use as repairs get underway."
The members of the Juneau Legislative
Delegation announced they are working hard in response to the
avalanche that downed one-and-a-half miles of power transmission
lines from the Snettisham hydro-electric generation plant. The
outage means almost all of Juneau's power will be diesel generated
for as long as three months. This may raise costs by as much
as five times, and, for now, much of that cost may be passed
on to the customers of AEL&P, the local power utility.
"Many people simply can't afford a 500 percent increase
in their power bill," said House Democratic Leader Rep.
Beth Kerttula (D-Juneau). It's too much for many families to
bear, and many local businesses could be in danger of shutting
their doors. We're working hard to stop that from happening."
Kerttula, along with Sen. Kim Elton and Rep. Andrea Doll (both
D-Juneau) have already contacted Gov. Sarah Palin and asked for
state assistance. The City and Borough of Juneau has declared
a local state of disaster, and the state will determine whether
or not this situation meets the criteria on Wednesday. If the
governor issues a disaster declaration it will free up state
dollars for relief efforts. The administration has asked all
state agencies to find ways to expedite repairs and also to provide
relief for the escalating costs. The delegation is also working
with the city and borough, AEL&P and other local, state and
federal agencies to find workable solutions.
"This is a strong community," Elton said, "and
people have already cut their power usage by as much as 20 percent.
At the same time the local and state governments must work together
to make sure people come through this crisis safely and financially
The delegation's initial concern is for public safety.
"We don't want people turning off their heat and power,
sitting home in the cold and dark in fear of huge electric bills,"
Doll said. "We're working to find good solutions so people
in Juneau can be safe and still afford to pay their bills."
One possible form of relief is the state's LIHEAP program, which
provides energy assistance grants to Alaskans at or below 150
percent of the poverty level. The deadline for applications is
Elton, Kerttula and Doll will stay in contact with people in
Juneau to keep them up to date on Snettisham news, and they will
set up links on their web pages where concerned citizens and
business owners can go for up-to-date information.
On the Web:
Application Form http://health.hss.state.ak.us/dpa/programs/hap/HAPAPP08.pdf
It can faxed to 465-3319.
Information about the program
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Office of the Governor
Sen. Kim Elton and Rep. Andrea Doll (both D-Juneau)
House Democratic Leader Rep. Beth Kerttula (D-Juneau)
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