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Interior Gas Utility: 2014, A Doggone Good Year



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IGU welcomes the end of a great year full of progress on the promise to bring affordable natural gas to as many people possible, as soon as possible. 2014 has been filled with curves and twists not uncommon to a complex infrastructure project, but IGU continues to achieve milestones to bring the Interior closer to energy relief.

Looking back
Only 11 short months ago, IGU, in it's simplest form, existed with the support of a seven-member volunteer board of directors, and authorization from the Regulatory Commission of Alaska (RCA) called a CPCN, which outlined the IGU service area.

First Quarter 2014: (Jan, Feb, Mar)
IGU hired MWH staff David Prusak as the Project Manager and Mindy O'Neall as the Community Affairs Manager to work out of a one-room temporary office space in the Key Bank Building. With staff support, IGU began steps to advance Financing, Design and ROW planning. The project schedule was defined and Board Member Steve Haagenson was officially recognized as the General Manager "pro tem".

Second Quarter 2014: (April, May, June)
IGU developed and published the Six Year Plan, an important organizational document designed to show the path forward for natural gas distribution in the Interior. Capital costs and a pro-forma (financial model) was developed. The first funding from AIDEA was authorized at $8.1 million, and the FNSB Assembly approved a line of credit up to $7.5 million. PDC Engineers were awarded the design contract for Phase 1, and a hydraulic modeling contract with ENSTAR was underway. The first public meeting was held at the Hotel North Pole, packing the house with over 90 interested residents; survey work in Phase 1 began.

Third Quarter 2014: (July, August, Sept.)
A conversions team was assembled with community members from the public and private sectors to address the conversion process, financing options, and logistics. IGU developed a comprehensive communications plan and continued public outreach through local events, summer celebrations, and a second successful community meeting in North Pole. Search and bid documents for an IGU Operator began. Phase 2 Design work was awarded to engineering firm, Michael Baker Jr. IGU moved into new office space in the Key Bank building with a conference room and offices.

Fourth Quarter 2014: (Oct., Nov., Dec.)
Community members Jack Wilbur and Aaron Lojewski are elected to the IGU Board in the first IGU Board election and take office in January 2015. Fifty homes are selected to participate in a pilot program to determine costs and logistics of home heating conversions. Hydraulic modeling is completed, and 65% of Phase 1 Design work is completed. Permits and ROW activities continued. A Selection Committee  met for a final evaluation and award recommendation for the system Operator. Bid award for 80 miles of pipe procurement is determined.  Further conversion work continues, including program assessment for implementation. A conversions workshop was held in North Pole, with over 150 community members in attendance. 

What's Next?
2015 promises to be an exciting year as we continue to move forward in bringing affordable natural gas to the Interior. IGU plans to solicit construction bids for Phase 1 in January for construction to begin in the Spring, as design plans continue to move forward to complete both Phase 1 and 2. A conversions program with components of process, program design and customer experience, data collection, marketing & outreach, financing and contractor engagement & workforce development is underway for IGU to implement a conversions program. The first year of conversions after natural gas is available is expected to be about 1,100 customers in the Phase 1 and Phase 2 areas. Gas supply and costs continue to be refined with the State of Alaska to deliver natural gas at the target goal of $15/mcf by the third quarter of 2016. The mission to deliver natural gas to the Interior as soon as possible to as many people possible will remain the focus and drive of this project. 

We want to hear from you! Curious about where your home is located in the IGU service area? Need advice for replacing your boiler today? Want to volunteer to help the project move forward? Stay in touch through Facebook, our website or send us an email: info@interiorgas.com.
 
IGU Meeting Shedule Released
Regularly scheduled IGU Board meetings will continue on the first Tuesday of each month, and Board Work Sessions are scheduled for every third Tuesday in 2015. All meetings are open to the public and are held at the IGU Offices, 100 Cushman, Suite 501/512 in the Key Bank Building in downtown Fairbanks. The newly formed Finance Committee will meet monthly on the fourth Tuesday of each month. The schedule is as follows:
 
2015 Interior Gas Utility Meeting Schedule

 
Month Date Type Location   Month Date Type Location
January 6 BOD IGU   July 7 BOD IGU
January 20 COW IGU   July 21 COW IGU
January 27 FIN IGU   July 28 FIN IGU
February 3 BOD IGU   August 4 BOD IGU
February 17 COW IGU   August 18 COW IGU
February 24 FIN IGU   August 25 FIN IGU
March 3 BOD IGU   September 1 BOD IGU
March 17 COW IGU   September 15 COW IGU
March 24 FIN IGU   September 22 FIN IGU
April 7 BOD IGU   October 6 BOD IGU
April 21 COW IGU   October 20 COW IGU
April 28 FIN IGU   October 27 FIN IGU
May 5 BOD IGU   November 3 BOD IGU
May 19 COW IGU   November 17 COW IGU
May 26 FIN IGU   November 24 FIN IGU
June 2 BOD IGU   December 1 BOD IGU
June 16 COW IGU   December 15 COW IGU
June 23 FIN IGU   December 22 FIN IGU
                 
  Key:              
  BOD - Board of Directors   1st Tuesday monthly, 4pm
  COW - Committee of the Whole
Work Session
  3rd Tuesday monthly, 4 pm  
  FIN - Finance Committee   4th Tuesday monthly, 11:30  am  
                 
                 
    Interior Gas Utility          
    100 Cushman Street, Suite 501          
    907-374-4474          
 

IGU hosted a successful home heating and conversions workshop at the Hotel North Pole on November 13th. Over 150 people from Fairbanks and North Pole attended to hear about aspects of home heating with natural gas, including experts from the conversions and design, financing, and environmental sectors.

Special thanks to the public for your continued interest and participation and to the following for partnering with IGU to work with the community in answering questions on the conversions process:

 
FNSB Air Quality Division 
 
Alaska Housing Finance Corporation

Superior Pellets

Clean Air Initiative

Robinson Accounting Firm
 
PDC
 
MBJ
 
Mechanical Sales
 
H&V
 
PacWest Sales
 
PSI
 
System 2000

 Photos by JR Ancheta : Hotel North Pole and partners of the IGU welcomed over 150 participants at the Conversions Workshop on November 13.

 
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