To spur change, fight the power provider

Posted: Thursday, May 08, 2008

As the front-page article in Sunday's Empire told us, Alaska Electric Light & Power Co. leaders will change nothing as a result of its negligence in the Snettisham crisis.

They are going to build cable towers, again. They are going to build the towers in the same avalanche zone, again. They will not guarantee that they will protect those towers with the inexpensive concrete avalanche diverters that would have prevented the whole collapse in the first place - again.

And they want to impose a 447-percent rate increase without letting the public know if the company actually needs it by showing us their books.

AEL&P has made it clear that it will not willingly change. And AEL&P is insisting that we, the ratepayers of this community, must cover all the costs for its refusal to avalanche-proof the towers before and its likely refusal to do so again.

If it is allowed to succeed, AEL&P and its largest shareholder, Bill Corbus, will reap a financial windfall well above any additional costs it faces from the results of its negligence.

If it won't willingly change, we must force it to change.

We must stand up against AEL&P and make them and the Juneau Assembly, state Legislature and governor hear our voice.

We must make it clear that we will not allow AEL&P to impose the costs of its mistakes on us.

We must shout if from the unlit rooftops that this will not happen.

That, in the words of the title of a Perseverance Theatre production from several years ago "We Won't Pay! We Won't Pay!"

And that we won't stand by while the AEL&P tries to force us to pay.

This is Juneau's Hurricane Katrina. The survival of Juneau as we know it is at stake. If AEL&P gets its way, the massive rate increase it seeks will force thousands of working-class people, many of them people of color, out of this community for good, as Hurricane Katrina forced poor and working-class people out of New Orleans.

At 3 p.m. on Friday at the Capitol, there will be a rally of the people of Juneau against the arrogant, greed-based policies of AEL&P, and against its insistence on punishing the people of this community for AEL&P's own mistakes and incompetence.

Please come to the rally and join the resistance to this blatant act of corporate aggression against all of us.

Ken Burch


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