RCA extends AELP rate decision

It will now be September 2nd before Alaska Electric Light and Power and Juneau rate payers know the size of a pending rate increase.

The Regulatory Commission of Alaska today (Friday, Aug. 26) extended its decision for the second time. Last month the commission announced it would issue its final order today, a month later than expected.

A-E-L & P requested a 22 percent permanent rate increase in May 2010. The commission granted 18 and a half percent in July 2010, with the final decision to come 12 months later.

The commission can extend its timeline with the consent of the parties – A-E-L & P, the state attorney general’s office and Juneau People’s Power Project. All agreed with both extensions.

Now it will be next Friday when the commissioners are expected to announce the amount of the permanent increase. If it’s less than the interim, the company would have to refund the difference.

Current general residential rates are 9 and a-half cents a kilowatt hour June through October and just over 11 and a- half cents/kwh November through May. If the commission grants the full 22 percent increase, general residential rates would go up slightly more than one-third of a cent per kilowatt hour. If a household uses 750 kilowatt hours a month, customers’ would pay an average of $16 more each month for electricity. The rate does not affect the standard customer charge, which is $8.88 a month.

A-E-L & P’s last permanent rate increase was in 2005 and was 4-point 41 percent.

The company says expenses have gone up significantly since then. It also hopes to recover costs of the Lake Dorothy hydroelectric project, which went online in August 2009. Utility regulations require new projects be complete and part of the operating system before a company can include an investment in its rate base.

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