RCA says APES can roll out automated service

The Regulatory Commission of Alaska has given Juneau’s garbage collection company the go-ahead to implement a new automated roll cart service. But the RCA has not yet approved a monthly container fee for specially designed trash cans.

The RCA on Friday issued an order saying Alaska Pacific Environmental Services, which owns Arrow Refuse, could roll out the new service while commissioners investigate the monthly container fee issue. Alaska Pacific says customers need to use a specially designed trash bin, with a gravity locking lid, in order for the service to be fully automated, and comply with City and Borough of Juneau garbage ordinances.

Alaska Pacific had argued the container fee was a non-regulated service, not subject to review by the RCA. But the commission says that’s a matter for it to decide. The RCA plans to hold hearings in the case, and issue a decision by mid-September.

Alaska Pacific Environmental Services hasn’t said when it plans to introduce the new system. A spokesman for the company said it would release a statement this afternoon or tomorrow.

In the meantime, Alaska Pacific has agreed to cap the monthly fee at $2.95 for a 96-gallon container, and $2.75 for a 48-gallon container. Under the plan, rates for garbage collection in Juneau will initially go down for some customers, and up slightly for others.

In its order, the RCA also granted Alaska Pacific extra time to make the case for a permanent rate for the new service. The company will undertake a cost of service study in 2013 and must file for a new rate by mid-September 2014.

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