AEL&P needs to be transparent

Posted: Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Gregg Erickson wrote an excellent column regarding possible "overcompensation" to AEL&P (Sunday's Juneau Empire). I appreciate the effort he took to provide those of us who are not economists with a "heads up" regarding the compensation that might go to the power company.

Also, Ted Merrell Sr.'s letter in Monday's edition not only explained the history of the construction of the power line, but gave good reasons for a subterranean or submarine power line.

The great cry has been for "transparency" in government, and the same should apply to a public utility. Their actual costs, profits, contracts with cruise lines and the options for restoring the power line should all be out in the open.

Last year at this time, the real "base price" for electricity was 8 cents a kilowatt-hour for electricity. Then AEL&P raised it to 11 cents because it said it had to cover the cost of diesel-generated power. Now the cost is more than 40 cents a kilowatt hour. I wonder what its annual report will show for corporate profit? And will God act again next year with another avalanche and put us in the same bind we are in now? These are things that need to be explained to the people of Juneau who are doing their best to conserve electricity.

Juneau is fortunate to have longtime neighbors such as Erickson and Merrell with the expertise and historical recall to help us, especially new residents, understand our present situation and what might happen. Now it is up to all of us, and the Juneau Assembly to do what is best for all the people of Juneau.

Wally Olson

Auke Bay

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