Petersburg Pilot -


Thomas Bay Power Authority no longer needed?


The Petersburg Borough Assembly will likely travel to Wrangell September 10 to discuss with its assembly the viability of Thomas Bay Power Authority.

According to a memo sent out by Wrangell Interim Borough Manager Jeff Jabusch, the two municipalities created TBPA to jointly maintain and operate the Tyee Hyrdoelctric power plant. Southeast Alaska Power Agency, SEAPA, owns the facility and pays for its operations and maintenance.

But there’s an additional expense associated with TBPA budget that the two boroughs traditionally split. It’s called non-net billable and it pays for expenses incurred by the TBPA board. But the Petersburg Borough halted funding this budget year, leaving Wrangell to put up $55,000—an amount of money that will cover expenses for about six months.

“At the present time Wrangell’s paying the full amount of this commission and the non-net billable,” Jabusch said. “We don’t want to keep funding 100 percent of things that are benefiting Wrangell and Petersburg.”

The Wrangell assembly discussed the issue at its meeting last week where it decided to urge the Petersburg Assembly to take part in the joint work session.

Michael Nicholls, TBPA General Manager, spoke in front of the Wrangell Assembly last week. He said neither borough should be responsible for paying any costs associated with TBPA.

“I honestly don’t see why anything is non-net billable,” Nicholls said. “SEAPA hires contractors all the time. Do they remove board costs and accounting costs from those people? We are simply a contractor for SEAPA. We have a written operations and management contract.”

SEAPA has offered to take over the plant, which Jabusch said would effectively do away with TBPA.

Trey Acteson, SEAPA CEO, will provide an update at the work session.

The meeting, which is open to the public, will be held Tuesday, September 10 at 2 p.m. at the Nolan Center in Wrangell.

If the Petersburg assembly cannot travel to Wrangell, they will meet by teleconference.


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