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Chugach launches search for new CEO

The Chugach Electric Board of Directors is looking for the next leader of Alaska’s largest electric utility. The search for a new Chief Executive Officer (CEO) follows the announcement in July that current CEO Lee Thibert is retiring at the end of April 2022.

“This is an exciting and challenging time in the electric utility industry,” said Chugach Board Chair Rachel Morse. “We are looking for a highly-competent leader who will continue to guide Chugach with a forward-thinking approach and a steady hand to ensure a smooth transition.”

The Chugach Board is partnering with JK Executive Strategies in the search for the CEO. JK Executive Strategies is a national executive search and recruiting firm and was chosen through an RFP process. The Chugach CEO is hired by the Board of Directors and directs, plans, and manages the activities of the Association in accordance with the bylaws, established polices, strategic plans, and business objectives. The CEO also provides leadership, vision, and direction for the utility and its staff.

Chugach is a member-owned, not-for-profit electric cooperative, with over 92,000 members at over 115,000 metered locations. At the end of 2020, Chugach acquired the city-owned Municipal Light & Power nearly doubling the size of its workforce. All of Chugach’s roughly 460 employees live and work in Alaska.

Apply now to be considered. Click here to view the job posting.  

Chugach issues RFP for renewable energy projects

In an effort to add more renewable energy generation to its portfolio, Chugach has issued a request for proposals (RFP) for projects that can be built and integrated into the existing system at no additional cost to ratepayers. Chugach has a goal of adding a project or projects that will produce 100,000 megawatt hours per year of renewable generation by the end of the first quarter of 2025. In addition to increasing the proportion of renewable energy, the goal of any new renewable project is to reduce carbon emissions, preserve natural gas resources, and to diversify Chugach’s energy supply resources while maintaining reliability and not increasing rates for Chugach’s member-customers.

“We know there are independent power producers with great ideas and innovative projects out there just waiting to find the right partner,” said Chugach CEO Lee Thibert. “We look forward to seeing the results of the RFP process.”

Chugach is looking for projects that will be in commercial operation by March 31, 2025, but is also interested in proposals that will take longer to develop. Proposals are due by 4 pm on Dec. 17, 2021. The RFP and all attachments are available at Chugach’s website at https://bidopportunities.chugachelectric.com/

According to the 2020 Annual Report, Chugach’s current energy portfolio includes 76% natural gas; 21% hydro; and 3% wind.
 

Chugach Electric CEO announces retirement

Chugach Electric Association CEO Lee Thibert has announced he will retire in April of 2022. Thibert, 66, has been with Chugach for over 30 years and has served as CEO for five years.

“Working for Chugach and our members has been an incredible opportunity,” said Thibert. “I am very proud of the work we have done together, continuing to build a strong, vital utility, providing power to thousands of Alaska homes and businesses.”

Thibert’s career at Chugach began in 1987 and he held a variety of senior management positions before being named CEO in July 2016. As CEO, he has led Chugach through several significant events including the acquisition of Municipal Light & Power, the purchase of an ownership interest in the Beluga River gas field and interest in Cook Inlet’s first commercial gas storage facility, and successfully navigating the utility through the recent COVID-19 pandemic.

“Lee has been a steady and accomplished CEO, leading Chugach through many significant changes over the years,” said Chugach Board Chair Rachel Morse. “We will miss him, but his retirement is well-deserved, and he leaves Chugach a strong and resilient utility.”

Morse added the board’s goal is to have a smooth transition next year and will immediately begin a search for Thibert’s replacement.

Applications accepted for Member Advisory Council

The Chugach Board of Directors is looking for volunteers to serve on a Member Advisory Council (MAC). The MAC would advise the board as an ad hoc committee on issues impacting the member-owned electric cooperative.

MAC volunteers will assist in the overall effort to get more engagement from members, provide feedback on emerging issues within the electric utility, and connect members to the governance structure of the member-owned cooperative. 

Additionally, the MAC will help identify candidates for election committees and board seats. Applications are available here and are due by the close of business on Sept. 24, 2021. MAC members will be appointed in the fall and asked to serve a one-year term. Meetings will begin in January 2022.