Archived Story

HOBOs request license changes

Published 10:10am Thursday, January 12, 2012

The Lake Martin Home Owners and Boat Owners Association, Inc. filed a letter with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission Tuesday requesting changes to Alabama Power Company’s Martin Dam license application.

In the letter, addressed to FERC secretary Kimberly Bose, the HOBOs asked that FERC require the extension of Lake Martin’s summer pool level from Sept. 1 until Oct. 15 and raise the winter pool level of the lake by five feet.

The letter was written in response to a letter Alabama Power submitted to FERC Dec. 9, 2011 providing detailed information about its application.

“Our efforts right now are to get FERC to consider changes to the Alabama Power Company application that would be beneficial to Lake Martin,” HOBOs president Jesse Cunningham said Tuesday.

As previously reported, Alabama Power is proposing to raise the lake’s winter pool level by three feet. The company is also proposing a conditional fall extension to maintain a higher lake leveling in the fall. This conditional fall extension would be met only when sufficient water is available and is based on four criteria that would be evaluated each year in September.

The HOBOs told FERC in the letter issued Tuesday that, to put their request in perspective, “one should consider the relative economic importance of Lake Martin to the surrounding communities and economy of the three county area. The rule curve changes will make the lake more appealing to visitors, more accessible to all boaters, safer due to greater water depth and economically beneficial to area businesses.”

The letter states that, according to the Southwick Economic Impact Study, if the lake is raised five feet higher in the winter, 76 percent of homeowners will be able use their boats and docks whereas only 29 percent will be able to use their boats and docks under the Alabama Power proposal of a three foot increase in winter level.

The letter then discusses three of the issues Alabama Power addressed in their Dec. 9 letter to FERC: existing and proposed guide curves, the historical reservoir levels and the conditional fall extension.

Cunningham said that the HOBOs do not agree with the power company’s proposal to extend the summer period only when certain criteria is met, and feel an official rule curve should be established that would extend the summer pool.

“What we would like to do, is to reach an agreement with the power company and with FERC on an equitable settlement for Lake Martin,” Cunningham said.

When FERC approves the license application, the lake level changes will not begin until June 2013 when the new license goes into effect. The new license will be in effect for 30-50 years.