Keweenaw County Board hears power payment plan

Graham Jaehnig/Daily Mining Gazette Julie Carlson, county clerk, left, and Keweenaw County Board members Jim Vivian, Don Piche, Sandra Gayk and Bob DeMarois, listen to a proposal Wednesday about paying the electrical costs of communications equipment on the Eagle River tower.

EAGLE RIVER — Charlie Hopper, president of internet provider Pasty.Net, introduced a proposal Wednesday to the Keweenaw County Board that includes the provider paying the county for use of the electricity necessary to operate the equipment on the Eagle River tower.

Hopper said his company conducted a study on the electrical consumption on the tower, and it amounted to less than $7.50 per month on average.

“When it was brought to our attention that we should have an electrical service at the Sheriff’s Office, we had done a study on how much power it uses,” Hopper said.

His concern was that to have service installed at the Sheriff’s Office could negatively impact the historical integrity of the building, something his company hopes to avoid.

Hopper offered an alternative to the county, saying Pasty.Net would double the figure to $15 a month that it would cost and even add an administrative charge to it.

“We had suggested $35 a month, so that Pasty.Net would be willing to pay the sheriff or the county, wherever you would want it, $50 a month to maintain the power there without having to get another service.”

Hopper said the proposal was delivered in an email back in September, but he had not received a reply. The email, he said, also discussed Pasty.Net’s usage of the other two towers owned by the county.

Electricity at the Keweenaw Mountain Lodge tower is provided to the provider by UPPCO in exchange for services provided by Pasty.Net.

“We provide UPPCO (Upper Peninsula Power Company) with their critical link for their two-way radio that occurs in Copper Harbor,” said Hopper. “They can’t reach their trucks any other way, and so they provided us with good power there, and then of course, we have an account over at Mt. Horace Greeley, in which we pay for the power inside the building that provides the lights, and we also provide the power for the Keweenaw County Repeater Association, the amateur radio group that’s over there.”

The proposal, then, is that Pasty.Net be allowed to pay Keweenaw County $50 per month for electrical service at the Eagle River tower, rather than having a separate service installed.

Hopper said the next step, then, will be to submit a written proposal to the board, which he will do this week.