Regulators OK Juneau settlement with Hydro One

Hydro One's logo on a tower at its headquarters in Toronto on May 20, 2015. Hydro One says it's Canada's largest electricity transmission and distribution service provider.

Hydro One’s logo on a tower at its headquarters in Toronto on May 20, 2015. Hydro One says it’s Canada’s largest electricity transmission and distribution service provider. (Public domain photo by Raysonho @ Open Grid Scheduler / Grid Engine)

The settlement between Hydro One and City and Borough of Juneau over the acquisition of the capital city’s electric company has been mostly accepted by state regulators.

The Canadian power company is buying the parent company of Alaska Electric Light and Power and needs regulatory approval in all five states where it operates, including Alaska.

State regulators announced Tuesday they’d accepted everything in the agreement except a part covering how other power companies could one day link into AEL&P’s power grid.

The order cited technical reasons: it hadn’t gone through the Regulatory Commission of Alaska’s public notice process.

The city’s attorney Kirk Gibson said discussions are underway to find a workaround.

“We’ve been in contact with representatives of Hydro One and Avista and AEL&P to discuss how we can obtain the benefits of the stipulation without — and stay within the rules of what the RCA wants to do and what they don’t want to do.”

Juneau Hydropower Inc. has been trying to link into AEL&P’s grid so it can sell power to the Kensington Mine, north of the city.

Managing Director Duff Mitchell said his company is about halfway through AEL&P’s application process.

He said he didn’t think the judge’s ruling would affect his project.

“I truly believe that AEL&P, Hydro One and Avista are committed to resolving this issue.”

The RCA received scores of critical public comments concerned about Juneau’s private power company being owned by a foreign corporation.

The settlement makes a series of assurances about AEL&P’s structural and financial independence when it becomes a wholly owned subsidiary of Hydro One.

The RCA has until June 4 to rule.

Editors’ Note: This story has been corrected to reflect that the decision was made by the Regulatory Commission of Alaska, not the administrative judge presiding over the hearings.

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