KENAI, Alaska (AP) — Cook Inlet Natural Gas Storage Alaska in Anchorage is planning to spend about $41 million to back up its ability to store and dispense fuel gas after built-up sand in a well and a failed dehydration unit caused the facility to lose about 20 percent of its capacity in March.

Facility officials last month asked the Regulatory Commission of Alaska — the state agency that oversees utility pricing — to allow them to recover the project's cost in future storage rates. The company's petition says construction could begin in January 2019 and the new features could be operating by the end of next year if the commission approves, the Peninsula Clarion reported .

The facility's fuel gas generates most of south central Alaska's heat and electricity. It supplied about 30 percent of the gas moved around the Cook Inlet region in January 2017.

The two new wells Cook Inlet Natural Gas Storage Alaska plans to add would each raise the delivery capacity by 30 million cubic feet (0.85 million cubic meters) of gas per day. Its five existing wells can deliver 150 million cubic feet (4.25 million cubic meters) of gas a day.

One of the facility's dehydration units — which removes water vapor from natural gas — failed earlier this year. That could have allowed water into distribution pipelines where it can clog filters, freeze inside pressure control valves, affect measurements, and lead to corrosion, according to an affidavit by facility Vice President of Operations John Lau to the Regulatory Commission of Alaska.

"With the current equipment and configuration, a loss of the dehydration system on a peak winter day would likely result in a total loss of gas flow to customers," Lau wrote.

The planned backup project would add a second dehydration unit.

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Information from: (Kenai, Alaska) Peninsula Clarion, http://www.peninsulaclarion.com