November 1, 2012 | Vol. 39, No. 34

TBPA Commission discusses report

The Thomas Bay Power Authority Commission met Tuesday, Oct. 30 and discussed a presentation to be given at the upcoming City and Borough of Wrangell workshop session to be held at 5:30 p.m. on Monday, Nov. 5.

TBPA General Manager Paul Southland presented information to the commission regarding a report by D. Hittle and Associates and made note of information that he feels needed to be explored a little further by the commission.

“The report that D. Hittle has provided to the SEAPA Board is incomplete,” Southland said. “And I believe that this study begs for the elimination of Thomas Bay.”

Southland also suggested that the report gives no plan of action regarding the findings.

Petersburg Municipal Power and Light Superintendent Joe Nelson added that the members of the commission should answer questions of the communities instead of taking a leading position with this presentation.

“This is far from a done deal that we are going down this path, (single operator),” Nelson said. “This will be a board decision and I would rather be in place to answer questions and see what they are thinking.”

Many on the commission agreed with Southland and wished for the presentation to be given during the Wrangell session.

“I’ve never seen a report come from D. Hittle and especially John Heberling that didn’t come to a preconceived conclusion,” Commissioner Warren Edgely said. “Some of the studies he has done just don’t pass the giggle test.”

The two governing municipalities of Petersburg and Wrangell have been given the report and will discuss it at length Monday evening.

“We need to be ready to answer any questions,” Commissioner Brian Ashton said. “Shouldn’t we be offering Wrangell and Petersburg guidance in this?”

Points within the report were discussed at length and information given to the Petersburg City Council was brought to light.

The report recommends changes in order to cut costs in operations and maintenance.

“The $400,000 in savings that this report is suggesting is coming from the elimination of operator positions,” Nelson said. “It is not removing overhead, it is getting rid of positions that we rely on to keep our lights on and I have a basic problem with that and the savings just really isn’t there.”

Southland was directed by the commission to present factual information at the upcoming work session in Wrangell.

The City of Petersburg will participate in the work session telephonically and the public is invited to attend.

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