Assembly Members are concerned that if the city doesn't participate in negotiations now, it might hurt rate payers in the future.
The city assembly approved two motions Monday Night after discussing the goals that CBJ had when negotiating their role in Hydro One's acquisition of Avista. The first motion was put forth by Norton Gregory, for the city Juneau to begin the process of intervention by allocating $75,000 for legal counsel. The second motion was from Beth Weldon, "to direct the city manager to negotiate the city's goals and request an update from him by February 26th." The assembly was unified in their belief that that they would work towards the best interest of Juneau rate payers, and would not begin to spend money from the general fund unless negotiations between the parties broke down.
The assembly's goals are as follows (Taken from assembly member Jesse Kiehl):
1) "To keep Snettisham owned either by the state or the city."
2) "To get the same protections for Juneau residents that the company is offering to Washington ratepayers."
3) "To get rules for other companies to move power across AEL&P lines so our power is less likely to stay 'islanded.'"
4) "To have more transparent energy planning for Juneau, and"
5) "To hold public hearings in Juneau."
It is not clear at this point if the Regulatory Commission of Alaska will allow Juneau to intervene in the sale.
In a statement from AEL&P, they argue that Hydro One's rates will not affect their own, and because they are regulated by the RCA, "Alaska law and RCA precedent prohibit AEL&P from charging rates that would subsidize Hydro One's customers."
AEL&P also states that "Mayo Schmidt, the CEO of Hydro One confirmed to the City and Borough of Juneau that Hydro One and Avista will have no material impact on AEL&P, its employees, or its community ethic and civic engagement."
You can hear more on this story, and the thoughts of Beth Weldon, Rob Edwardson, and Jesse Kiehl on the issue below, or on The News of the North podcast on the Juneau Radio Center App.