Avista, Hydro One file response to critics of proposed purchase

The proposed purchase of Juneau’s electric utility has drawn a massive amount of local response, much of it wary of Canadian electric company Hydro One controlling Juneau’s power company.

On Tuesday morning, Hydro One and Avista Corp. (the parent company to Alaska Electric Light & Power) issued a joint response to the dozens of comments that have come from Juneau residents in an attempt to ease Juneauites’ concerns about the purchase. This comes a few weeks after Hydro One and Avista representatives visited town to talk directly to residents.

Those interested in finding the filing can go to www.rca.alaska.gov, go to the “quick search” option under the “RCA Library” tab and search for docket U-17-097. The response is then listed under the “Documents” tab.

[Click here for a direct link to the response]

Around 100 people submitted comments to the Regulatory Commission of Alaska as it has considered Hydro One’s application to purchase Avista, including U.S. Rep. Don Young, R-Alaska and Rep. Tammie Wilson, R-North Pole. Young and Wilson in particular expressed concern that Juneau’s assets would fall into the hands of the Canadian government, as Hydro One is 47 percent owned by the Ontario government.

“Anti-Canada prejudice provides no justifiable reason to deny or condition approval of the Application,” the joint response reads. “Hydro One is not a governmental entity.”

The response, which numbers 444 pages, also assures readers that rates in Juneau will not rise, that Hydro One will not “take over” Juneau’s electric utility assets and that the guarantees that Hydro One has given to Washington ratepayers will also apply to Alaska ratepayers whenever applicable.

The response also states that Hydro One is not looking to take over the Snettisham hydroelectric project, which is currently owned by the federal government but could transfer to AEL&P in 2034. This facility is at the heart of many arguments against Hydro One’s acquisition of AEL&P, as many want to see Snettisham stay in local hands and not in Hydro One’s possession.

“The proposed transaction will not affect the Snettisham purchase option,” the joint response reads. “Alaska statute, Commission cost-based ratemaking, and a prior Commission order regarding the rate treatment of Snettisham costs preclude the possibility that the Snettisham purchase option will adversely affect Juneau customers.”



• Contact reporter Alex McCarthy at 523-2271 or alex.mccarthy@juneauempire.com. Follow him on Twitter at @akmccarthy.



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