What AEL&P isn't telling us

Posted: Sunday, June 27, 2010

I spoke with an Alaska Electric Light and Power representative today to check the accuracy and my understanding of a news story on KTOO radio. The report addressed the anticipated rate adjustment and its impact on households. It said, and this was verified, the average monthly usage per household is about 700 kilowatt-hours and most households would see an increase of about $14 a month. This seemed way off to me. What I learned is that 700 kwh is the average for all households for all months whether their heat source is electricity or not.

Many of us can expect an increase of far more than $14 a month. For example, if you are heating a 1,500 square foot space and your usage for a given month is 2,000 kwh, which is not an unreasonable estimate for a winter month, you can expect an increase of about $40 for that month.

So, although the estimate of an increase of about $14 a month for most households based on a 700 kwh usage is technically accurate, it is misleading for many people. Information that is technically accurate but not "true" is deceptive and counterproductive to reconciliation.

I'm not trying to stoke the fire. I just think it's important for people to anticipate and plan for the proposed increase. You can assess your own situation by looking back at your bills or calling AEL&P for your usage records and doing the math. Who knows? That may be a more palatable way of looking at it than as a 20 percent increase.

Martha Quinn

Juneau



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