Chilkat Valley News - Serving Haines and Klukwan, Alaska since 1966

 
 

AP&T customers: Don't penalize us for conserving

 


Dozens of Alaska Power Company customers testified at a recent Regulatory Commission of Alaska hearing in Haines, railing against the company’s request for an 18 percent power rate increase.

As part of the RCA’s investigation into whether an 18 percent rate increase is warranted, the commission heard from customers including residents from Haines, Skagway, Tok, Allakaket, Bettles, Craig, Slana and other Interior communities.

Customers in communities besides Haines participated telephonically.

During the April hearing, Haines Borough Mayor Stephanie Scott said she was “surprised” by APC’s argument that since energy conservation technology like LED lights reduces demand for power, APC needs to raise its rates.

“What really surprises me is that the only solution that occurs to a provider of an essential service who is granted a monopoly is to raise rates to the customer,” Scott said.

“I concede that some level of rate increase could make sense, but it seems to me that if allowed an 18 percent increase, APC is poised to ‘make a killing’ based on consumption in the Upper Lynn Canal,” she added.

Several other Haines residents testified, including Roger Schnabel, Debra Schnabel, Kathleen Menke and Leigh Horner.

Horner said she has invested in energy-saving technology in her own home and worked hard to keep her electric bill down. “I feel like I’m being punished for conserving energy,” Horner said.

The RCA recently approved the Haines Borough as an intervener in the APC case, meaning the borough will have access to court documents and can participate in the investigation.

The RCA approved an interim rate increase of 6 percent while the investigation is underway. The agency has set a deadline of July 13 for an update on the investigation, though the commission has until Feb. 20, 2015, to issue a final order.

APC is the energy subsidiary of Alaska Power and Telephone, which also provides Internet and phone service to Haines residents.