Electricity back to pre-avalanche rates

Posted: Tuesday, March 17, 2009

JUNEAU - All Juneau electric users are now back on cheaper electricity.

An avalanche took out the Snettisham transmission line that supplies the city's hydro-fueled electricity on Jan. 12. Alaska Electric Light and Power Co. ran the city on diesel for three weeks until the line was fixed.

The utility burned about 1.5 million gallons of diesel at a cost of $3.8 million, according to spokesman Scott Willis.

Each electric customer received one high bill; for residents, the rate about doubled to 24 cents per kilowatt-hour. The high months weren't all in sync, though, because the utility reads meters throughout the month. The last bill with a higher rate was mailed out last weekend.

Residential rates are now back to 10.8 cents per kilowatt-hour.

This was the second avalanche in a year. After the lines were downed last April, AEL&P's 15,000 customers paid a total of $8.9 million.

That disaster was initially estimated to be costlier, and prompted a conservation campaign and an outpouring of support from local charities and institutions. This time, both the cost and the response were less.

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