Kirkwood utility district offers to purchase Mountain Utilities |

Kirkwood utility district offers to purchase Mountain Utilities

Adam Jensen

SOUTH LAKE TAHOE, Calif. – The Kirkwood Meadows Public Utility District will offer to purchase Kirkwood Valley’s sole energy provider in response to Friday’s fire, said Michael Sharp, the utility district’s assistant manager, on Wednesday.

The Kirkwood Meadows PUD board made the decision during a closed session meeting on Tuesday night that followed a sometimes tense public meeting where Kirkwood residents criticized the utility district and Kirkwood Mountain Resort leadership.

Kirkwood PUD staff was also authorized to hire a condemnation attorney at the closed session.

Kirkwood Mountain Resort owns Mountain Utilities, which owns the diesel-fired power plant that caught fire Friday.

The New Year’s Day blaze destroyed the plant, knocking out power to ski lifts and the about 600 homes in the Kirkwood Valley.

Kirkwood Mountain Resort and homes in the valley will be powered by several large portable diesel generators until a new power plant is built.

The utility district has discussed purchasing Mountain Utilities from the resort for the past several years because the district, as well as many within the Kirkwood community, feel it is more appropriate for a public entity to produce power for the area rather than a ski resort, Sharp said.

Details of the utility district’s offer to purchase Mountain Utilities were not made public on Wednesday.

A plan to connect to the area to the power grid is currently undergoing environmental review. The connection to the grid would not be made until at least 2012, said Tom Henie, the general manager of Kirkwood Meadows Public Utility District, at Tuesday’s meeting.

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