The Regulatory Commission of Alaska has allowed Juneau People's Power Project to participate in Alaska Electric Light & Power's rate increase request.
The city utility had objected to a role for the group, which has sought a formal role in the utility's request for a 22 percent rate increase. A slightly lower interim request is already in place.
JPPP member Bill Burke said the group was happy that its request had been granted, and credited strong community support for the success.
"We'd like to thank everybody who participated in the Empire (online) poll, everybody who sent a letter to the RCA for the meeting we had, and to the Tlingit-Haida Community Council and Alaska Native Brotherhood Camp 70 on behalf of JPPP," he said.
AEL&P sought the increase last summer. The review process for that request will take a year to complete. The company, one of the only privately owned, for-profit utilities in the state, called JPPP an "alleged consumer group" when it opposed its participation.
Several other Juneau residents also sought individual roles in the rate proceeding, the RCA said. AEL&P had sought to exclude those from the proceeding if their power bills were in someone else's name.
In Monday's order, the RCA allowed JPPP, but denied all the individual participation requests after they said they were willing to participate jointly.
"We find that granting intervention to JPPP and denying intervention to the six Individual Petitioners in this proceeding is a prudent exercise of our discretionary authority," the order said.
The JPPP had also expressed concerns about being allocated a potentially large share of the cost of the proceeding. The RCA order said cost allocation to consumer groups is only done if it conducts itself in a "frivolous manner."
The order states, "We do not know at this point in time if JPPP will conduct itself in a manner that we would consider frivolous," and thus couldn't give any assurance about costs.
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