Breaking: Anchorage residents, businesses asked to conserve energy, bundle up during cold snap, as Cook Inlet gas is challenged

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John Sims, CEO of Enstar, and Anchorage Mayor Dave Bronson

Anchorage, in a deep freeze spell, is still in the “green” zone for energy availability, but the warning lights are blinking after key wells in Cook Inlet that provide natural gas have been heavily tapped in recent cold weather. Those lights are blinking enough to have the mayor of Anchorage and local utilities call a last-minute press conference on Thursday to caution residents, while trying not to scare them.

Enstar Natural Gas Company, the largest utility in Southcentral Alaska, is asking people to conserve energy as the below zero temperatures persist through Friday.

Enstar President John Sims said in the nine years he has been with the utility, he has never seen demand so high. Enstar anticipates peak load demand Thursday night.

In the joint press conference with Mayor Dave Bronson and Matanuska Electric Association, Sims said that conservation is always a good idea, and the natural gas supply is stable, for now, but there is at least one well in Cook Line that will need some repairs, after heavy use has caused “sanding,” which can ultimately shut down a well. Fixing it during cold, dark days has significant challenges.

In the Mat-Su Valley, a widespread power outage occurred at the Eklutna Generation Station overnight on Wednesday, when one of the engines at the power plant developed a gas leak in a flange that connects pipes. The leak triggered safety measures to shut down a majority of the engines at the plant. All power was restored within 25 minutes after the system was switched over to diesel. Temperatures in the Valley reached as low as -25 on Wednesday night, -36 in Talkeetna.

The MEA outage was not related to a gas supply issue, but some 12,400 Chugach Electric Association customers also lost power because of a “load shedding event” that is occurring in the Railbelt, Chugach Electric said on Facebook. Load shedding is done to protect the overall system and prevent blackouts and involves rotating power outages, or reducing power consumption from primary sources until demand decreases or capacity increases.

Meanwhile, some members of the Assembly are having second thoughts about their resolution that supports dismantling the Eklutna dam. This afternoon, a hasty press conference was called by Assembly Chairman Chris Constant to call for a two-year extension on any changes to Eklutna hydropower, which is a steady supply of power to Anchorage.

“Sponsored by Assembly Members Constant, Kevin Cross and Meg Zaletel, the resolution outlines concerns regarding the development and implications of the Draft Fish and Wildlife Program as proposed and calls for a two-year extension to reevaluate project alternatives and rectify the process,” the trio said of their new resolution, which will evidently replace a prior resolution.

This week the Municipality also sent notices to commercial building owners who have buildings that may experience roof collapses due to the more than 104 inches of snow received so far this year. Building officials say they analyzed properties using Google Earth satellite imagery to determine which buildings have flat roofs that may be at risk. Over 1,000 property owners received the letters because they have roofs with wooden trusses fastened with metal gang nail plates.

69 COMMENTS

  1. Well, as all the liberals in Anchorage sit huddling together for shared body heat during these cold snaps, at least they’ll have their convictions on banning oil and gas exploration and production to keep them warm. It’ll be a hoot to see what happens when the state cannot afford to subsidize heating oil across bush Alaska in the not so distant future.

    • Do not allow these communists to co-opt our language. Stop calling them “liberals” or “progressives.” The appropriate terms are “leftists” and “regressives.” Speak with fearless authority and truthfull conviction.

  2. Is there nothing these people who claim to be leaders can’t screw up? There’s enough gas out there to last for centuries. We pay, why can’t the deliver?
    All of the problems we face in this country are purely because of lousy management, poor leadership, and corruption.

    • Yes and voters voted for this.
      I wish we knew their names so we can turn off their gas.
      This is what Anchorage wants so here the state with more gas than we need but we can’t have it so says our politicians.
      I am ready when the people wake up to this stupidity and want to do something about being cold because you can’t heat your house because of some stupid decisions.

    • Correct. There is a ton of natgas under Cook Inlet. The companies play the doom and gloom game until the State caves and basically subsidizes the entire cost of drilling; then voila they find 10 more years of gas. Get the government to pay all the costs and then guess who keeps the profit?

      Scam artists all.

      • Convenient memory, that. Don’t forget Dementia Hitler cancelling all federal leases in Cook Inlet a year or two ago. Companies can’t drill if the feds won’t let them, which means we will end up importing. Cheers –

        • Yes definitely. The only reason ND and TX have massive production is the oil is on private land.

          ‘https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Federal_lands#/media/File:Map_of_all_U.S._Federal_Land.jpg

          This is a major issue. Why do Western States allow this? Time to demand transfer of Federal lands to the States!

        • “……..Companies can’t drill if the feds won’t let them, which means we will end up importing……..”
          FROM WHERE?

          • Texas. Louisiana. The Dakotas. Canada. Indonesia. Middle East. There’s a lot of LNG out there, which is why any proposed natural gas pipeline in AK can’t make any $$$. Cheers –

      • Actually the last time this happened a decade or so ago the state promised limited tax credits and then didn’t pay them which ended up bankrupting some companies.

  3. “…….some members of the Assembly are having second thoughts about their resolution that supports dismantling the Eklutna dam……..”
    Gee, ya’ think? What are these people smoking?

  4. I’ll bite… How did we get here? How long have we known this was a likely risk? How could we let this happen? What is getting in the way of expanding the supply of natural gas? What steps for fixing gas supply are being taken in response to this reality? Does a rational response to rationing gas consumption include expanding the homelessness industrial complex and its public shelter network while imposing punitive regulations on resource industries aimed at putting them out of business? More socialism and socialist policies are necessary! Anchorage just hasn’t had enough yet, apparently.

    • All reasons why the GDP of Alaska is and has been falling 100% why the population has been decreasing since 2016 exactly why we are short 100k homes I am glad to read all the comments here sounds like a lot of citizens are waking up to the open for sale destruction of Juneau policies that are unable to stabilize the economy

  5. Preview of coming attractions.

    Go ahead, kill the Eklutna dam. Stop fossil fuels. Limit how much can burn in a fireplace.

    Ah, progressive “utopia”

  6. Does anyone else find it strange that after the initial drop of six plus feet of wet snow, the city engineers were on the news stating that there was nothing to worry about? Then, when the roofs started collapsing, they changed their tune. Trust your government. And good luck removing ice at these temperatures.

    • We were up to 70″ or so by 19 Dec. There’s been 30″+ since then. It was the other 3′ that started collapsing roofs. 2 weeks of subzero temps really stressed the natural gas supply system. Cheers –

  7. What, a glimmer of common sense emanating from the ass-embly’s Marxist Nine?
    Can it be?

    I’d have thought that Chrissy would have found this cold snap to be the PERFECT time to call for the destruction of the Eklutna power plant, along with the immediate elimination of all natural gas supplies to Alaska. Jim Jones, eat your heart out!

  8. What the heck is going on here. Somebody better start drill baby drill. We have so much energy here but are constantly held back by wackos from getting to it. Leave the damn dam alone we need the power to keep power on to all the empty buildings. I can not believe I am hearing to conserve energy when we were told not to long ago how much we have. People wake up. People are leaving here almost as fast commifornia. I did not move here 30 years ago to live in a tourist town. Elections have consequences from the bottom to the top. So vote smart.

  9. Reality is waking up the Dreamy Dreamers. A community has to have gas and it has to have water.
    It would be a whole lot easier for Alaska’s leadership get more oil and gas leases then trying to tell the sheep to turn down their heat. Tough bidding. Few people (the goody goody two shoe kind of government people and then there are those few who been consistently living under their means will turn down their heat. For the rest of Anchorage those heaters will run until its a crisis

  10. It is almost amusing to see our virtue signaling, land acknowledging “betters” on the assembly dropping the “plight of the Eklutna people” like a hot potato, when obvious facts and foreseeable reality rear its ugly head!
    If memory serves, weren’t powers that be talking about a storage facility on the Kenai for natural gas, just in cases like this? Wonder what happened to that plan? Does anyone know??

  11. Most people these days they live for themselves getting what they need and who cares about conservation and living under what one can get. It’s human nature that lives without God and outside God’s laws.
    All I can say to Alaska’s leadership deal with it. Get the gas and oil leases

  12. When are we going to build our own gas line from the slope for Alaskans and not for foreign profiters?
    Plenty of gas up there doing nothing.

    • A lot of the gas up there is used to produce oil, it’s not doing nothing. A gasline costing BILLIONS for a market the size of a small city in the lower 48 isn’t economical, a gasline exporting to the rest of the world isn’t even economical.

      • Steve-O says: “… gasline exporting to the rest of the world isn’t even economical.”

        But a GTL activity batch shipping syn diesel down TAPS is at around $40/bbl.

        Gaslift is used to produce a lot of the shallow, cold wells. A CTL activity will substitute CO2 for CH4 currently used. The planned methanol plant is the first step in that direction. Cheers –

  13. Another thing I noticed too the press release from leader AGAIN puts the responsibility upon Private residents and Private business and not Government office buildings- you ducks! Government is non essential to a community’s economy, it just sits around and absorbs. Government buildings including schools and non profits can lower its heat consumption. Besides it takes an awful amount of fuel to power those big buildings than a little business or home.

  14. All the government dependent employees including the Assembly and Mayors office and city hall can go find the Parka-Lady of Anchorage so they can work in Parkas just like Fmr Rep Paktoyak did gaveling the House Session in his parka while they conserve heat shutting off government buildings heat.

    • We do buy already warm costumes for several departments to identify themselves and to be warm in inclement and clement weather.

  15. This is a warning that all should heed, imagine if we were relying of windmills and solar panels right now. We need to clear the way for gas exploration and development so that we can heat our homes and generate electricity. A decade ago we had the same warning and the politicians screwed it up and reneged on their promises which led to this current situation, we need serious people to make serious and informed decisions that are literally life or death decisions.

  16. Sadly, these last few years the US has squandered our most valuable resource: Trust.
    All those companies that ponied up THEIR OWN money to explore, drill, build, were told to go pound sand after untold millions were spent.
    It cost the govt nothing to have an independent company build a pipeline, explore for oil, or drill a well.
    And we hope they show up again after broken promises? Oil and gas is not a light switch you turn on. It takes time. We have squandered that time and now the trust.
    Don’t vote for liars and fools anymore.

  17. Constant and Zaletel can say a million things about Eklutna hydro and water but the end result will always be a sell-out to a mostly non-existent salmon run and well-financed environmental thugs. Anchorage residents will pay very dearly for electing these two tools. They will compromise the future of the community to serve their masters. Their current posturing is designed to deflect responsibility for their actions. (Susan LaFrance is of the same stripe.)

  18. Are we exporting gas? The last thing should be exporting, the local needs out weight foreign needs. We also need a reserve for at least six months.

  19. So, are we being asked to lower our standard of living while swimming in an ocean of oil and gas, for what we now know is a false claim of a climate crisis? The latest report from the EPA clearly states there has been no rise in temperature in over 80% of their measurement devices. In exchange, we are steadfastly heading into a manufactured gas shortage. It’s clear the narrative keeps changing; initially, it was because there was no gas in Cook Inlet, then it comes out that there is plenty of gas (50+ years of known reserves according to the USGS). Along with a narrative change that it’s just too expensive to obtain, now there is talk of importing gas from Canada. This seems very convenient, considering Enstar was sold to Trisummit Utilities, owned by Canada—a company focused on ESG and net-zero policy. Not to mention, this all seems to somehow go away if we just go with the governor’s plan of carbon credits from sequestration which the free market has overwhelming rejected as they are worthless. According to people in Juneau, this will magically free up the liquidity needed in the form of borrowing power from the banks. Are you starting to see the shape of this narrative yet? Please, people, open your eyes. We can’t handle heating shortages when it’s needed most in the dead of winter, especially when this crises is manufactured. Capitalism is about mutual exchange, not government-manufactured crises. The government seems to think it has no reason to respect the body of citizens and is more interested in corporate capitulation. We need a strong, non-RINO executive leader with the people’s best interest. We need to remove the gatekeepers in Juneau preventing the people’s work from being done!

    • Thank you for bringing up Enstar’s current owners! I had found out about the sale a while back and was shocked how this could adversely affect us if the globalists decided to put the screw to us. Frightening that all of the utility companies are going along with the narrative instead of protecting Alaskans and their right to live.

  20. This is clearly the fault of the extreme left assembly and the REAP/Chugach Board and CEO. All are unqualified to lead and will drive this State into disaster.

    Make sure to vote against MArk Wiggin in the Chugach Board election and vote for someone who will fire Arthur Miller, the CEO chosen after Hal Halpern.

    • This is the fault of all of the people “running this state” and “making decisions.” They all have caved in to the globalists and are doing their bidding trying to save their own skins. Little do they know that once they have done whatever the globalists demand of them, their time on this earth as useless eaters will come to an end also. The globalists and their puppets are going to find out that many people of have woken up to this attempted take down. Maybe all of us won’t survive, but there will be enough to tell our story of what really happened to the generations to come.

  21. Well isn’t this grand… gas shortage at -30 and everyone comes wide awake suddenly. We absolutely need to get the north slope gas line completed we also need another coal power plant . And how about a hydro dam somewhere. We need to be diversified with our power supply. If we were to totally loose gas supply right now what would the ramifications be. .?? This is serious all our eggs are in 1 basket. This is life and death at -30. 3/4 of south central are 100% reliant on 1 energy source. That’s pretty scary it’s also pretty stupid.

  22. I have to wonder where Constant and crew will be this summer when the temperatures are up and the chills of the winter are long forgotten. The environmentalists will again be screaming don’t drill and will ignore the last two winters. Yes, wake up and demand that the gas and oil be available. But more than that, don’t vote for that woke crowd that got Alaska and the northern states in this mess in the first place. Keep them out of office and out on the streets where they belong.

  23. My folks filled up a barrel of oil once or twice yearly, and heated the whole house on a couple of Junger oil stoves. I recall nearly a week of below -25 temperatures when I was a kid, so this might have been in the 60s. School was still on as my father went to teach most days. We’d huddle around the oil stove in the middle of the house–all eight of us at the time, reading, or whatever (Mom was probably darning socks or mending undergarments –never any shortage of that sort of work!) and regularly replacing a pan of water on top of for the dry air and static electricity –sizzling sounds of dripping melted chunks off the mittens and hats clipped to the drying rack above it on return from outdoors. Anyone recall the smell of hot wool? Toasty warmed up mittens before heading out to shovel the snow off the roof? Anyway, there’s central heat at present with gas. Everyone wearing wool socks around the house to keep the thermostat high enough to avoid frozen pipes but low to conserve the gas.

    • We supplement our furnace with a wood stove. Mrs. N, last night I was out getting more wood at -30 and had a flash back to my youth when a wiff of wood smoke hit me. Grew up with just wood stove out here in the Valley.

      • I’m also burning wood to give our boiler a break. Old habits don’t die. I suppose when the gas and electricity dies, I can just keep burning wood as the population flees like the end of the gold rush era. I just want to see Zalatel and Constant leading the exodus.

  24. In a State awash in natural gas I find it absolutely incredible that we have come to this point. Alaska has certainly had the misfortune of having the worst State governors, legislators & legislatures in the nation – at least for the past 50 years that I have had the bad luck to have been tortured by them!

        • And you lost to the worst State governors, legislators & legislatures in the nation?

          I’ve never felt the need to scratch that itch, there’s more action behind the scenes. Thanks for putting yourself out there though, it takes a certain kind of person to do that.

  25. Let’s slow our freak out for a minute here. If everyone were to read the rubbish article ADN put out about the same topic and read how they connected it with other non-associated garbage, you might come out with more questions than anything. Then read this article again. I encourage MUST READ to do a follow up about that particular take and clarify more for the local population – because there is still more research to be done.
    What is Hillcorp’s take on this?
    The guy who is quoted to having said that he’s never seen it this low in his career- how long has his career been?
    What does his experience entail? That same guy was quoted as saying it really isn’t in the alert level yet, yet everyone is reporting something different. Tell us more about that alert system. Is it working? Can it be hacked by outside sources?
    What are they doing about the sand in the settlement tanks?
    How does this connect with the power outages? But really, how does it truly connect? Or does it at all?
    What about LNG?
    How about that transcontinental pipeline with Canada that Palin doled out 5 million bucks for and they never did the research they were contracted to/pulled out of the deal? Alaska has $5 mil less to help with “the situation.” Is there really a situation or is this just more of the Biden narrative rolling downhill?
    Can the current system be reversed?
    What about reopening that epic coal mine up in Healy?
    What is everyone in the Mat Su going to do now that they’ve ripped out their wood stoves because they didn’t go with the aesthetic of their Anchorage / Coloradoville style homes?
    What does natural gas shortage have to do with snow on the roof?!
    Anyone else’s property taxes jump sky high all of a sudden? What are we paying for with that increase if not some better quality control and management of current utilities?!

    • V – I believe the amount of money that the State spent on the failed Trans Canada gas pipeline project was 500 million bucks, not 5 million. That’s enough money to piss off the Pope!

      • Yes thank you for the edit.
        Autocorrect got me that time. Another good read that expands on some answers of questions from above:

        ‘https://alaskapublic.org/2023/11/30/theres-lots-of-gas-in-cook-inlet-heres-why-some-companies-arent-drilling/

  26. In the June 2021 “Journal of Natural Gas Science and Engineering”, we read: “Natural gas consumption forecasting technology has been researched for 70 years.” (sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S1875510021001372)
    .
    …which suggests suppliers have known, since 1951, how to use gas consumption data, demographics, predictive analytics to forecast gas consumption or, in other words, when production capacity should be increased to avoid nasty surprises just like this one.
    .
    But Alaska has Enstar President John Sims saying he’s never seen demand so high, as if customers should take it upon themselves to huddle in the frigid dark because Enstar’s almost out of gas and every citizen needs to do his part.
    .
    At “Natural Gas Rates by State”, we find Alaska has the third cheapest natural gas rate in the nation. (chooseenergy.com/data-center/natural-gas-rates-by-state/)
    .
    Only a hardened cynic would dare wonder out loud whether Enstar customers might be a test market for a strategy to boost Alaska’s natural gas rate to a much more respectable level.

  27. Mrs N: you sure brought back memories of the oil stove when I was a kid. Everything happened around that stove. Mom cooked on it, baked in it, all while heating the house and drying the clothes above it. We bundled up, slept in sleeping bags, whatever it took to stay warm in the few fridges snaps we would have in SE Alaska. Now with gas heat here in Anchorage, the furnace is off from May to September and then never set above 65. Guess being raised by depression era parents makes this boomer earth conscious after all.

  28. Launch Alaska’s mission statement starts out, “We’re on a mission to decarbonize the globe, starting in Alaska.” Link to their website in Ms. Andrews’ article.

  29. The cold will keep illegal immigrants from invading Alaska at least. 💁🏻‍♀️Alaska doesn’t have the housing, money, or infrastructure to handle more people. New York, Texas, Arizona, California, Michigan-it’s getting messy down states. 🙄

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