The 27th Alaska State Legislature, 2011 - 2012||
Sponsor Statement: House Bill 294
Power Cost Equalization
“An Act relating to the power cost equalization program.”
Posted: March 26, 2012 : v27-LS1108-B
Status: (H) FIN : 2012-03-21
This legislation simply proposes returning elements of the Power Cost Equalization (PCE) program to its 1998 levels.
The bill proposes raising the kilowatt-hours ceiling from 500 to 600 per month, and also adds small commercial customers to the pool of entities eligible for PCE. Small commercial customers are defined as using no more than 2,400 kilowatt-hours per month. Businesses are currently ineligible to receive any PCE benefits.
We are experiencing one of the coldest Alaska winters in the last 25 years. While folks in the Bush have become used to conserving power to fall under the 500 killowatt-hour ceiling, it is a struggle to do so in winter months. This year's weather is not helping that struggle.
While the State has done an excellent job in creating and supporting energy programs that will make a difference over the long haul, nothing has been done to help our residents with their short-term needs. Rural Alaskans need the help with energy costs now and our small businesses can't afford another year of exorbitant power costs.
I believe the time is right to consider this legislation, and I hope it spurs on other ideas to help our rural people deal with their immediate needs with energy costs. I also believe it is time for the legislature to acknowledge that we need to assist small rural business owners, which in turn will drive down the excessive costs for goods and services to the consumers in our remote communities.
I appreciate your support for this bill.