In order to provide safe and reliable service to our members, Chugach has a year-round program to remove trees and other vegetation from utility easements. Also commonly called right-of-way clearing, properly maintaining these areas is required by the National Electric Safety Code. Chugach’s program utilizes best practices in vegetation management and has been recognized 17 times as a Tree Line USA utility.
Planting evergreens can create a winter windbreak for your home, and planting trees which lose their leaves in the fall can provide shade in the summer while allowing the sun to shine through on short Alaskan winter days.
If you are thinking of planting, choose the appropriate tree or shrub to minimize conflicts between trees and utility lines. And remember, planting in the utility easement can make it difficult for Chugach or other utilities to gain access and to maintain their facilities. The result could mean your landscaping might need to be moved or trimmed.
On March 1, 2005, the Anchorage Assembly adopted certain revisions to Section 21.07.050, Utility Distribution Facilities, of the Anchorage Municipal Code. These revisions require an electric utility to “include as part of its annual capital improvement plan, a five-year undergrounding program” (21.07.050F1). In each of the years of this program the electric utility shall plan on expending “at least two percent of a three-year average of its annual gross retail revenues derived from utility service connections within the municipality” ((21.07.050G1a). This requirement means that Chugach Electric Association (Chugach) is required to spend approximately $3.6 million annually to underground existing overhead facilities. Over-expenditures or under expenditures may be carried over as an adjustment to the following year’s obligation.
In the development of the five-year undergrounding program the electric utility is allowed to choose which existing lines to underground. Specifically, priorities for the program “shall be based on undergrounding in conjunction with the electric utility’s essential system improvements and then by target area” (21.07.050F1).
The following document contains Chugach’s five-year undergrounding program. Overall, the plan calls for $18,450,000 to be expended on undergrounding existing overhead lines from 2018 to 2022, for an average of $3,690,000 annually.
The projects were chosen taking into account Chugach's overall system needs and consideration of the designated target areas. The inclusion of a project within this plan does not guarantee that the project will be constructed in the designated year.
In 2007, the Chugach Electric Association, Inc. (Chugach) Cooper Lake Hydroelectric Project was issued a new operating license (Project: FERC No. 2170). The Project is located near Cooper Landing on the Kenai Peninsula and provides power to southcentral Alaska as part of Chugach's generating system. The first operating license for the Project was issued by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) on May 1, 1957. The new 50-year license is scheduled to expire in 2057.