Smoke can be seen rising from areas scarred by the Swan Lake Fire on Sunday, Oct. 6, 2019 at Mile 10 of Skilak Loop Road, on Alaska’s Kenai Peninsula. (Photo by Jeff Helminiak/Peninsula Clarion)

Smoke can be seen rising from areas scarred by the Swan Lake Fire on Sunday, Oct. 6, 2019 at Mile 10 of Skilak Loop Road, on Alaska’s Kenai Peninsula. (Photo by Jeff Helminiak/Peninsula Clarion)

Transmission line damaged by Swan Lake Fire repaired, re-energized

The line had been out of commission since August.

A transmission line damaged by the Swan Lake Fire is now repaired and re-energized.

The line was repaired and re-energized by Homer Electric Association Thursday, after being out of commission since Aug. 18, according to a Chugach Electric press release.

The damage to the line was less extensive than first thought, with damage to three structures.

The peninsula communities of Cooper Landing, Hope, and Moose Pass — which are serviced by Chugach Electric — and Seward, which is serviced by the city, saw power bills go up after the Swan Lake Fire damaged lines that connect power from the Bradley Lake Hydroelectric plant to the rest of the peninsula and into Anchorage.

With no Bradley Lake power coming north of Sterling, Chugach Electric and other power companies to the north needed to use more natural gas to compensate while the transmission was offline. Natural gas is more expensive than hydroelectric power. For Chugach Electric, 10% of their power comes from Bradley Lake.

The cost for Chugach Electric to provide power increased by $2.7 million while the line was not in service.

“The additional costs are being recovered through Chugach’s fuel and purchased power rates,” the release said. “Chugach members using an average of 600 kwh per month saw an increase of just under $3.00 on their monthly bill. It is expected that the entire cost will be fully recovered in electric rates by the end of the first quarter 2020.”

The Bradley Lake Hydroelectric Project is the largest of seven hydroelectric facilities in the state, and produces up to 10% of the energy needs along the rail belt. The project provides power to Chugach Electric, the city of Seward, Homer Electric Association, Municipal Light and Power, Matanuska Electric Association and Golden Valley Electric Association.

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