Behind the Switch

A Newsletter Edition

March 14, 2024

We Want Your Feedback And Ideas!

Have Feedback or Ideas For Articles?

CVEA's goal is to meet your communication needs. If you have feedback or topics you would like to see included in a future issue of Behind the Switch - A Newsletter Edition, send us an email by clicking the button below. We will review thoughts and ideas and do our best to make adjustments and include member suggestions throughout the year.

Submit Your Feedback and Ideas

2024 Board of Director Election

Meet the Candidates Q&A

To learn more about the 2024 director candidates, each were asked to answer the three important questions below. Click the 'read more' button to find out how they answered.

Question 1

What knowledge, skills, and experience will you bring to CVEA's Board of Directors?

Question 2

What do you feel are the Co-op's biggest challenges in the next five years, and what will you contribute to overcoming these challenges?

Question 3

If elected as a CVEA director, how will you balance the desire to keep rates low with the need to complete expensive maintenance projects necessary to ensure system reliability?

Read More

Exercise Your Right to VOTE!

Director election ballots will hit Member mailboxes at the end of March. Please VOTE and let your voice be heard!

  • WHY? The Cooperative needs a 10 percent return to constitute a valid election.
  • REMEMBER! To be valid, the appropriate signature must be on the back of the ballot return envelope, and it must be received in the proper mailbox, not mailed, by 5 p.m., Tuesday, April 23.
  • BONUS! All valid ballots returned by the deadline will be entered to win a $50 CVEA energy credit!!

2024 CVEA Annual Meeting of Members

Copper Valley Electric Association, Inc., invites you to the 2024 Annual Meeting of Members. The CVEA Annual Meeting is your chance, as a member-owner, to find out what is going on at your electric cooperative.

The purpose of the meeting will be to hear reports, learn about CVEA projects and issues, ask questions about your cooperative, accept director election results, see who is awarded Community Foundation scholarships, and transact any other business that may come before the Membership.

In addition to learning valuable information, every member signed in by 6 p.m. will be eligible to win a ton of cool prizes, including a $1,000 cash grand prize, and will receive a $10 credit on their power bill! Don't be late. 

Annual Meeting Updates

Upcoming Deadline

Director Election Ballots Due

5 p.m., Tuesday, April 23

Make sure your vote counts!

1. Cast your ballot for the director position by checking the box next to the candidate(s) of your choice

2. Seal your ballot in the return envelope and sign the back of the envelope

3. The signature on the back of the return envelope must match the signature on file at CVEA to be counted

4. Mail so that it is received in the correct mailbox before 5 p.m., Tuesday, April 23, 2024

5. Ballots will not be accepted at either CVEA office; late ballots will not be counted

Want to win a

$50 CVEA Energy Credit?

Answer our March

digital newsletter poll

by 6 p.m., March 18.

Which good luck charm would you rather find?
Four-Leaf Clover

Congratulations to Joan Larson, the winner of CVEA's February e-Newsletter poll.

CVEA Employee Spotlight

Matt Craig

Meet Matt, who has been a part of the CVEA team for almost nine years! Matt started in 2015 as a power plant operator. He has been assisting with training new employees at our Solomon Gulch dispatch center, is the shop steward for operators, and is part of CVEA's science class presentation and tour program. In Matt's free time, he enjoys coaching his kids' sports programs and spending time outdoors with his family and dog as much as possible. Thanks for all you do, Matt!

Line Crews Continue Reliability Improvements

Crews Eliminate Snow Slap With Cross Arm Project

With all the snow throughout the CVEA service territory this winter, you've heard the term 'snow slap' used repeatedly as a cause of power outages. As a reminder, snow slap is when heavy, wet snow that has piled up on power lines releases or falls off the lines. It can cause the lines to move aggressively and come into contact with each other. If this happens, it creates a fault. To protect the system from that fault, power automatically shuts down. It is termed snow slap because snow releasing from the lines causes the lines to slap together, basically.

One area of concern has been Airport Road in Valdez. This area has experienced a high number of outages due to snow slap because of the vertical construction of the single-phase lines. This design forces the lines on top of each other, leaving as little as four feet between the primary and the neutral. Although the construction was built to appropriate standards, the design does not work well in our extreme conditions.

Recently, the Valdez Line Crew began a project to eliminate the snow slap potential and improve reliability in the area. To do this, they added cross arms to the structures. The cross arm separates the lines and prevents them from coming into contact with one another when snow releases from the lines and causes movement, essentially eliminating the possibility of snow slap. The crews will continue adding cross arms in other trouble areas throughout the service territory.

Watch the video below of Valdez Lineman Apprentice, Justin Moncrief, as he installs a cross arm on a single-phase line at Airport Road. Video by Sean Herring, Valdez NECA Temp

Click to view a video of CVEA Valdez Lineman Apprentice, Justin Moncrief, installing a cross arm.

Right-of-Way Management

Trees in the right of way is an issue CVEA works hard to combat each year through an extensive right-of-way management program, and planned system improvements. Annual focus is given to areas identified as trouble spots, or areas that have experienced an unusually high number of outages or damage due to trees. From there, focus shifts to the main line as that serves the largest number of members, then to lines that feed smaller areas, such as subdivisions and side roads.

Right-of-way management is ongoing and a significant amount of time and funds are spent on this effort each year. Annually, CVEA clears 12 miles of transmission right of way and 31 line-miles of distribution, with 20 of those miles in the Copper Basin and 11 in Valdez. In addition, crews tackle trouble spots with the SkyTrim. In 2022 and 2023, crews trimmed roughly 26 miles on the West Line, the entire Old Edgerton Highway, and 12 miles on the Edgerton Highway, respectively.

In 2024, CVEA will continue work on the West Line, trim trouble areas from Copper Center, heading south, and finish the Edgerton Highway, if time allows. In addition to right-of-way management, system improvements are planned that prioritize trouble areas. Tree trimming began in late February in the Valdez district. Crews began in the Browns Creek area and have continued to work towards town. This effort will include Alpine Woods and all taps.

The Co-op is dedicated to keeping members informed of right-of-way management efforts throughout the year. Updates are posted on Facebook and

Patrolling the Line. What Are They Looking For?

Fuse Cutouts - In electrical distribution, a fuse cutout is a combination of a fuse and a switch, used in primary overhead feeder lines and taps to protect distribution transformers from current surges and overloads.

During outages, cutouts help linemen find and fix the problem. Many structures on CVEA's system do not have fuse cutouts on them, making patrolling and restoration more difficult.

CVEA will continue the effort to add fuse cutouts to structures in trouble areas within the Co-op's service territory. This will assist with outage restoration efforts and improve system reliability.

Watch video for a demonstration on fuse cutouts

In the above video, COO, Wayne McKinzey, and members of the Operations Team demonstrate to CVEA employees how to identify and fix a blown cutout and fuse. Note: this video is roughly 11 minutes in length and details identification and repair of a blown fuse cutout.

Solomon Gulch Hydroelectric Project Relicensing

Watch above video to see a summary of the Solomon Gulch Relicensing Project

Watch the video above for a relicensing project summary

Visit Relicensing Project Web Page

On June 21, 1978, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) issued a 50-year license to the Copper Valley Electric Association (CVEA). The operating license for the existing 12-megawatt (MW) Solomon Gulch Hydroelectric Project, FERC Project No. 2742 will expire on May 31, 2028. CVEA intends to file an application for a new license prior to May 31, 2026, two years before the license expiration date, as required by FERC regulations. FERC authorized the use of the Traditional Licensing Process (TLP) on June 23, 2023. The cost to members is approximately $1.4 million from the relicensing effort that began in 2021 until the expiration date of 2028.

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Energy Efficiency and Safety Tips

Don't Hang Energy Efficiency Out to Dry

Lengthen the life of your clothes dryer with regular cleaning. Clean the lint filter after every load, which improves air circulation and safety.

Check the lint trap opening to ensure it's clean. Use a vacuum to remove any lint that's fallen inside the opening.

If you use dryer sheets, check the lint filter for residue buildup. Remove any residue with hot water and a nylon brush or toothbrush. Over time, dryer sheets can leave a film on the filter, which can affect the performance of the motor.


Energy Efficiency Tips

Electric Safety Message: Vehicle Accidents Involving Power Lines

Would you know what to do if your vehicle collided with a utility pole? What if you came upon such an accident and wanted to help?

Exiting the vehicle or approaching the vehicle to provide assistance could expose passengers or responders to thousands of volts of electricity from downed power lines.

Please read more below to learn what to do in this dangerous situation.


For additional safety tips, visit

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Career Opportunities

CVEA has excellent opportunities for qualified applicants. View current job opportunities posted on the CVEA website.

Visit Careers

Important Dates

Copper Valley Electric Association | | 907-822-3211 |

Mile 187 Glenn Highway, PO Box 45, Glennallen, AK 99588

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