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Alabama Power to request higher winter pool

Published 9:39pm Thursday, November 3, 2011
Natalie Nettles, The Alex City Outlook

Alabama Power Company plans to file a request with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission Friday that would keep Lake Martin’s winter pool higher during the upcoming months.

Jim Crew, manager of hydro services for Alabama Power, announced the proposed temporary winter pool variance at Thursday’s Alexander City Kiwanis Club meeting, explaining that the company hopes to maintain this year’s winter pool level at 483 feet mean sea level (msl).

“Tomorrow we are going to file with FERC another temporary winter pool variance for this year,” Crew said. “Last week, we got our up-to-date weather projections and La Nina is possibly going to be worse than last year, which means it’s going to be drier and warmer for the next few months. We’re concerned about being able to fill in the spring, so the temporary winter pool proposed for long term needs to happen this year, too.”

Under current guidelines, Lake Martin’s winter pool is typically 481 feet and the summer pool is 491 feet. Alabama Power begins lowering the lake level in early September and it reaches winter level by the beginning of January. The lake level begins rising again in mid-February and reaches summer pool by the end of April.

Crew said that Alabama Power has requested the variance three or four times in the last five or six years, and officials met with various agencies about filing the request again this year.

He added that filing the request Friday should give FERC ample time to approve the request.

“Hopefully we’ll get it approved before Nov. 23, because that’s when we hit 483,” Crew said. “So, in other words, if we get it before that, then we won’t have to drop and then try to get back up. We’ll just stop it right there and maintain 483 the rest of the winter.”

Crew also talked to Kiwanis Club members about the recent Martin Dam relicensing process.


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