Lack of cruise ships relying on shore power from Alaska Electric Light and Power will not affect customers, said an AELP vice president on June 29, 2020. (Peter Segall | Juneau Empire)

Lack of cruise ships relying on shore power from Alaska Electric Light and Power will not affect customers, said an AELP vice president on June 29, 2020. (Peter Segall | Juneau Empire)

Heavy rain and surplus of power means savings for power customers

The lack of cruise ships hasn’t hurt rates.

A dearth of cruise ships powering their hulls through Alaska Electric Light and Power will not raise prices for customers, said an AEL&P spokesperson.

“The Princess Cruises ships are a pretty small interruptible customer compared to the (Greens Creek) mine,” said Debbie Driscoll, AEL&P’s vice president of consumer affairs. “So there’s not going to be any impact in that regard.”

The company’s cost of power adjustment will be lowering again, beginning July 1, Driscoll said, owing to surplus energy and a rainy June, which will make it cheaper for customers.

Dry weather temporarily increases bills, according to a past news release from AEL&P, and the opposite is also true. The money paid by interruptible customers when there’s favorable water levels and weather conditions, such as the mines or the cruise ships, helps offset the costs for regular, or firm customers.

“They’re in great condition. June has been a very wet month,” Driscoll said. “The rain is helpful. Our reservoirs are in good condition. Without the cruise ships, we have surplus energy.”

The mines and the cruise ships moored to the pier are typically the largest customers of consumable power, Driscoll said. Without the cruise ships, the mines are taking up the excess smoothly.

A wet 2020 as also raised low reservoir levels back to normal levels, Driscoll said.

“We’re wrapping up the Flume Trail project,” Driscoll said. “The plan should be that we’re finished by the end of summer and we’re still on track with it.”

• Contact reporter Michael S. Lockett at 757-621-1197 or lockett@juneauempire.com.

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