Assembly supports electric utility merger discussion

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ANCHORAGE (KTUU) - The push for Anchorage’s two electric utilities to merge now, includes support from the Anchorage Assembly. The body passed a resolution calling for Municipal Light & Power and Chugach Electric Association to begin "substantive steps to explore merger opportunities."

The Anchorage Economic Development Corporation recommends the merger, saying expected rate increases will have a negative impact on the cost of doing business.

"We look at the idea that there are inherent inefficiencies in the fact that when you have two different administrations - two different infrastructure systems that aren’t as necessarily integrated in one system - you’re going to have some inefficiencies in operational costs," said AEDC President Bill Popp.

Chugach Electric Association says a merger has been looked at several times over the past 30 years, and a spokesperson welcomed the assembly’s decision Tuesday.

"It adds some weight and some interest, when you have the Anchorage Assembly - the political body of our city - looking at this issue and saying please go have discussions, please see what you can do together. So we are happy to participate in these discussions,” said Julie Hasquet, public relations manager of Chugach Electric Association.

"We will continue to evaluate opportunities to serve our customers better, including exploring the steps outlined by the assembly resolution," said Julie Harris with ML&P. "ML&P believes a transparent process involving all stakeholders as outlined in the resolution should benefit all ratepayers."

Hasquet says the next step is to begin conversations.

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