Alaska Electric Light & Power Co. has made millions in profits in recent years, according to financial records filed with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.
There are differing views on whether that is a lot or a little.
"Over the years we have been able to provide electric service and pay our bills and earn sufficient money, most of which is invested in new plant and equipment," said Bill Corbus, AEL&P's principal owner.
Corbus described AEL&P's profits as "modest."
By some measures, he said, compared to other utilities, "I think we're down at the bottom of the heap."
In some recent years, those profits appear substantial, though.
Empire calculations based on FERC filings show a pre-tax profit of $9.2 million in 2007, on operating revenue of $30.4 million.
"We prefer to look at after-tax income," said Corbus, chairman of Alaska Energy & Resources Co., the holding company that owns AEL&P.
AEL&P's net (after tax) operating income was listed at $6.1 million in 2007, up from $5.6 million in 2006, according to the FERC filings.
Some of those profits have gone back into the utility, as Corbus said, which builds both shareholder equity and a stronger utility. Additional profits have gone into dividends and taxes. Those dividends are paid to Alaska Energy, of which Corbus is the single largest owner.
AEL&P is a wholly owned subsidiary of Alaska Energy.
Among the shareholders of Alaska Energy are two Corbus relatives, brother Barclay Corbus of Colorado and nephew Clay Corbus of California.
Two other owners are National Financial Services Inc., the company that owns Fidelity Mutual Funds, and Stanford University.
Corbus declined to say how those two entities came to own part of an Alaska utility.
We "prefer to keep that private," he said.
The remaining shareholders fall below state reporting requirements, meaning they own less than 5 percent each.
Corbus said Alaska Energy has been aggressively reinvesting profits in the utility, including the Lake Dorothy Hydroelectric Project, in which $6.7 million was invested.
AEL&P has only paid out 14 percent of its profits in dividends, Corbus said, compared to the 50 percent that's common among investor-owned utilities.
"What we've been doing over the years is reinvesting all of the earnings in AEL&P," he said.
Corbus said the utility will be suffering this year with everyone else in Juneau, but he didn't know by how much.
"It's going to be a real tough year; I'm not in a position to be able to put a number on it yet," he said.
Overtime and other expenses will be significant, he said.
Contact reporter Pat Forgeyat 523-2250 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
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