City’s ‘intervening’ in sale between Hydro One and Avista will go on as planned

The “intervening” process between the City and Borough of Juneau and the potential sale of Avista One Corp., which owns the Alaska Electric Light and Power, to Hydro One Limited will go as planned.

The process will go forward after the Regulatory Commission of Alaska (RCA) on denied Hydro One’s request to object to the city’s “intervene” request March 9. Hydro One made its formal request to the RCA on March 1, stating “The CBJ’s petition to intervene is premature because this docket is presently a nonhearing matter, as no evidentiary hearing has been scheduled.”

This comes after the Assembly agreed during its Feb. 26 meeting to petition to intervene in the sale. The intervening process allows the CBJ (through a lawyer) to have a voice in the the matter before the RCA on the sale between Hydro One and Avista One.

Assembly member Jesse Kiehl said he feels getting a chance to be part of the sale will make it easier for the RCA.

“I think it is great that the RCA is giving the CBJ a seat at the table,” Kiehl said. “I think it is very important that Juneau gets involved and gets all the information it can to the RCA to protect the public.”

Assembly member Loren Jones said he understands Hydro One’s position, but said it is necessary for the CBJ to be able to go through with the process.

“I am glad (RCA) allowed us to intervene,” Jones said. “We have some work to do. I certainly understand Hydro One not wanting us there because they believe they have met our needs and we think they have not.”

Ferio Pugliese, Hydro One Vice President of Customer Care and Corporate Affairs, issued a statement via email to the Empire regarding RCA’s decision.

“Hydro One and Avista have committed to continued operation of AEL&P as it is today, preserving local control and protecting the best interests of customers. We’ve heard and understand the comments and concerns of the residents in Juneau and the City and Borough of Juneau. We respect the decision of the Regulatory Commission of Alaska and continue to support the existing formal process, which considers the public’s input and interest.”

The RCA explained its reasoning to deny Hydro One’s request because of the CBJ’s concerns of the “welfare of the community and future economic development.”

There are limitations to what can be discussed during the intervening process, according to RCA’s official statement.

“We (RCA) will not address issues related to any possible transfer of Snettisham (Hydroelectric Project) ownership in his proceeding” and “AIDEA (Alaska Industrial Development and Export Authority) is not a party to this proceeding and would be an essential party to any proceeding in which interconnection… with the Snettisham transmission line is at issue. For these reasons, we will not be addressing an (open access transmission tariff) or interconnection tariff in this proceeding.”

Snettisham is owned by AIDEA but is managed by AEL&P. Bonds on the hydroelectric project are expected to be paid off around 2034. Once bonds are paid off, AEL&P can buy the facility at a relatively low cost.

RCA commissioners were contacted but they declined to comment for this article, saying it’s an ongoing matter.


• Contact reporter Gregory Philson at gphilson@juneauempire.com or call at 523-2265. Follow him on twitter @GTPhilson


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