January 2, 2020 update
Warmer temps, lower loads and above normal precipitation have improved water levels and allowed us to reconnect all interruptible customers. Throughout the winter, we will continue to monitor reservoir levels to ensure that hydropower remains available to our customers. To learn more about the impact of the drought and how the Cost of Power Adjustment (COPA) impacts rates, visit our website and check out our informative letter to the community.
December 2, 2019 update: Dual Fuel Customers Reconnected
Reservoir conditions have not improved to normal levels, however, they have improved enough to restore dual fuel customers at this time. Greens Creek will remain disconnected for now, and we will continue to monitor reservoir levels and will connect Greens Creek when conditions warrant.
November 25, 2019
The heavy rainfall over the last two weeks resulted in good inflows to our reservoirs. However, we started the water year (October 1) with a deficit due to several below-normal years of precipitation at Snettisham. This means that the recent inflows have not been sufficient to make up the deficit we started with. We still have a ways to go before our reservoir levels recover enough to allow us to reconnect interruptible customers while also reserving hydro to serve firm customers throughout the winter. As always, we will continue to monitor the lake levels on a regular basis and make adjustments as conditions allow.
Since the Lake Dorothy hydro facility came online in 2009, we have not needed to use diesel energy during the winter, as some of the other Southeast communities have had to do. Prior to 2018, we had served all firm and interruptible customers for a five-year period without interrupting for low-water conditions. The long-term climate outlook for Southeast Alaska is warmer and wetter than normal, so hopefully the predictions are accurate, and we can return to normal operations in the near future.
November 5, 2019
Although heavy rainfall was recorded in early October, the overall precipitation for the month was normal. This did not allow the reservoirs to recover from the 30 inch deficit from water year 2019. As the weather has cooled, the inflows have slowed and reservoir levels are dropping as is typical for this time of year. With snow now showing on the mountains, the inflows will continue to decline as we head into the winter months. Interruptible customers will remain interrupted until reservoir levels reach normal for the season. When this will occur will be determined by inflows as well as how much water is needed to meet firm customer load.
October 15, 2019
Snettisham finished the 2019 Water Year 30 inches below normal precipitation, but 9 inches ahead of the prior Water Year. Water Year 2020 which started on October 1 is tracking normal so far. October is a critical month with normal precipitation of 25 inches but freezing temperatures up high could cause some of that precipitation to be stored as snow instead of filling the reservoirs. The published three month outlook from the Climate Prediction Center indicates equal chances of above or below normal temperatures for the winter, so we are being cautious to ensure that we have maximized the water stored in our reservoirs as we head into the winter months. Interruptible customers will remain disconnected until reservoir levels return to normal.
September 26, 2019
Snettisham recorded typical September rain last weekend which resulted in good inflows to the reservoirs. We are still below normal precipitation for the month, but the reservoir levels are higher than last year at this time. Interruptible customers will remain disconnected until reservoirs reach normal levels. AEL&P has been able to meet all of our firm customer’s energy needs with hydro. Diesel has not been required.
September 16, 2019
Generation Report & COPPA Update
Cost of Power Adjustment charge to decrease in 4th quarter to $0.018916
Interruptible sales in the 3rd quarter contributed to the decrease.
Reservoir levels are below normal - Greens Creek, Princess Cruise Ships and Dual Fuel customers are disconnected.
Striking the right balance between conserving water for future use and selling surplus energy, which provides a cost reduction to customers, is something we continuously reevaluate and adjust. Forecasting precipitation isn’t an exact science. We consider forecasts from multiple sources, including NWS/NOAA in helping to determine the best course of action.
Reservoir levels need to improve significantly before the interruptible loads can be reconnected.
By the numbers: Normal precipitation at Snettisham for July, August and September is 46.94 inches. To date this year, Snettisham received only 17.47 inches for that same period.
September 3, 2019
Even with the rain we received over the prior weekend, our reservoirs are still lower than normal for this time of year. Precipitation is still below normal for the water year and a few inches below last year. Snettisham precipitation for the month of August was 5.68 inches below normal.
All Interruptible customers are disconnected until our reservoirs return to normal levels.
With little precipitation this month, the reservoirs have not filled as quickly as normal. Water year to date is now both below normal and below last year. Greens Creek, Princess Cruise Ships and Dual Fuel customers will be disconnected and will generate with their own power or heat with an alternate fuel source.
Striking the right balance between conserving water for future use and selling surplus energy, which provides a cost reduction to customers, is something we are continuously reevaluating and adjusting.
As we know, forecasting precipitation isn’t an exact science. We consider forecasts from multiple sources, including NWS and NOAA in helping to determine the best course of action.
We will continue to monitor reservoir conditions and adjust accordingly. Normal precipitation this fall is needed to reconnect interruptible loads.
By the numbers: Normal August precipitation at Snettisham is 14 inches. September is 25 inches. August precipitation to date at Snettisham is measuring less than one inch.
For more information, call 780.2222 or use the contact us form available on our website aelp.com
As of the end of June, the Juneau area has been downgraded from a Moderate Drought back to Abnormally Dry.
The Juneau area reservoir levels are currently near normal for this time of year and are expected to continue to be unless late summer/fall precipitation is below normal as it was in water year 2018.
Currently, all customers are on hydro. Dual Fuel and Princess Cruises are being served with 100% hydro. Greens Creek is taking partial hydro from us and running their own generation in parallel.
Although drought conditions continued throughout the spring in Southeast, lake levels improved slightly which allowed us to begin serving interruptible loads. As a result, the 3rd quarter Cost of Power Adjustment decreased slightly to 2.28 cents per kWh, effective July 1. Also, lower summertime rates are in effect from June to October. For residential customers, this means a 2.06 cent decrease per kWh on their bills in addition to the slight reduction in the COPA rate.
It’s important to note that the recent rainfall in Juneau does not always mean equal precipitation at Snettisham, where two-thirds of our energy comes from. For example, precipitation at Snettisham is 87% of normal, compared to Juneau precipitation which is 98% of normal for water year to date.
We have created the Generation Report below to keep customers informed on our current generation status. The graphic below shows where we are as of June 2019. As always, we are available to answer any
questions or concerns. We can be reached at 780.2222 or by visiting the Contact Us page.
To view the 3rd quarter COPA filing with the Regulatory Commission of Alaska click here.
This report will be updated as conditions change.