Alaska Electric Light and Power Company Lemon Creek operations center in Juneau. (Michael Penn | Juneau Empire File)

Alaska Electric Light and Power Company Lemon Creek operations center in Juneau. (Michael Penn | Juneau Empire File)

State regulators reject sale of AEL&P to Canadian firm

Alaska’s utility regulator has rejected a request from Canadian firm Hydro One to take over Alaska Electric Light and Power. The rejection was based on a legal technicality, and a spokeswoman for AEL&P said the request will be refiled.

On Wednesday, the Regulatory Commission of Alaska issued an order denying an application “to acquire a controlling interest in Alaska Electric Light and Power Company” that had been filed Sept. 14.

Ontario-based Hydro One had also sought a waiver from rules requiring it to show proof that, as a foreign corporation, it can do business in Alaska. Hydro One contended that because AEL&P will be managed through Spokane-based Avista Corp., and because Avista will be handled through a Delaware-based LLC, Hydro One did not have to show that proof.

In their order, RCA commissioners Stephen McAlpine, Rebecca Pauli, Robert Pickett, Norman Rokeberg and Janis Wilson rejected that argument.

“Because the burden of registration is minor when weighed against the benefit to the public from the additional safeguards afforded by registration and the availability of additional information not otherwise provided under our regulations, we do not find good cause to waive the … requirement that Hydro One and Olympus Equity include proof of registration to do business in Alaska as part of their application to acquire a controlling interest in AEL&P,” the commissioners ruled.

Thirty-four public comments were noted by the commissioners, including one from the City and Borough of Juneau and one from former state senator Lesil McGuire of Anchorage. Juneau Hydropower Inc., which is attempting to build a hydroelectric dam near Juneau, noted in its public comment that Hydro One told Washington regulators that any cost savings from the purchase will not be passed on to Juneau customers. AEL&P told the City and Borough of Juneau Assembly that the transfer is not expected to increase electricity rates.

With the waiver request denied, the commissioners determined that Hydro One had not filed the necessary paperwork to complete the transfer of AEL&P. They then rejected that larger transfer request.

The decision may be appealed within 30 days — no appeal had been filed by the time of this writing — and the rejection was made “without predjudice” according to administrative law judge James Walker, meaning it can be refiled with the proper paperwork.

AEL&P vice president and spokeswoman Debbie Driscoll said by email that it is accurate to say that the paperwork will be refiled.

Last week’s order is the latest step in a process that began in July, when the largest power company in Ontario announced it would buy the parent company of AEL&P for $5.3 billion.

That parent company, Washington-based Avista, acquired AEL&P from its Juneau owners in 2013. The company has been providing electricity to Juneau for 120 years.


• Contact reporter James Brooks at james.k.brooks@juneauempire.com or call 523-2258.


More in News

Jasmine Chavez, a crew member aboard the Quantum of the Seas cruise ship, waves to her family during a cell phone conversation after disembarking from the ship at Marine Park on May 10. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire file photo)
Ships in port for the week of May 18

Here’s what to expect this week.

Juneau high school seniors Edward Hu of Juneau-Douglas High School: Yadaa.at Kalé (left), Elizabeth Djajalie of Thunder Mountain High School (center) and Kenyon Jordan of Yaaḵoosgé Daakahídi Alternative High School. (Photos of Hu and Jordan by Juneau Empire staff, photo of Djajalie by Victor Djajalie)
Senior Spotlight 2024: Three top students take very different paths to graduation stage

Ceremonies for Juneau’s three high schools take place Sunday.

The entrance road to Bartlett Regional Hospital. (Peter Segall / Juneau Empire file photo)
Bartlett Regional Hospital looking at eliminating or trimming six ‘non-core’ programs to stabilize finances

Rainforest Recovery Center, autism therapy, crisis stabilization, hospice among programs targeted.

A king salmon. (Ryan Hagerty/U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service)
Biden administration advances bid to list Gulf of Alaska king salmon as endangered or threatened

Experts say request could restrict activity affecting river habitats such as road, home construction

Mayor Beth Weldon (left), Deputy Mayor Michelle Bonnet Hale and Juneau Assembly member Paul Kelly discussion proposals for next year’s mill rate during an Assembly Finance Committee meeting on Wednesday night. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire)
Assembly members support lower 10.04 mill rate ahead of final vote on next year’s CBJ budget

Initial proposal called for raising current rate of 10.16 mills to 10.32 mills.

Dave Scanlan, general manager of Eaglecrest Ski Area, speaks to the City and Borough of Juneau Assembly Finance Committee on April 13, 2023. (Clarise Larson / Juneau Empire file photo)
Dave Scanlan forced out as Eaglecrest’s general manager, says decision ‘came as a complete shock to me’

Resort’s leader for past 7 years says board seeking a “more office-process, paper-oriented” manager.

The entrance to the Alaska Gasline Development Corp.’s Anchorage office is seen on Aug. 11, 2023. The state-owned AGDC is pushing for a massive project that would ship natural gas south from the North Slope, liquefy it and send it on tankers from Cook Inlet to Asian markets. The AGDC proposal is among many that have been raised since the 1970s to try commercialize the North Slope’s stranded natural gas. (Yereth Rosen/Alaska Beacon)
Eight young Alaskans sue to block proposed trans-Alaska natural gas pipeline

Plaintiffs cite climate change that harms their access to fish, wildlife and natural resources.

(Michael Penn / Juneau Empire file photo)
Police calls for Tuesday, May 21, 2024

This report contains public information from law enforcement and public safety agencies.

Most Read