Both sides urge regulators to move fast in Chugach, ML&P sale

Published: Feb. 11, 2020 at 6:37 PM AKST
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During an informal conference on Tuesday, Administrative Law Judge Jim Walker warned representation from both Chugach Electric Association and Municipal Light & Power that reaching a final decision on their

, before a statutory deadline of February 28th, might not be possible for the Regulatory Commission of Alaska.

During the meeting, both parties expressed that this could put their entire sale at risk. One of the biggest hold ups is the question of whether or not the panel will accept a remand stipulation regarding rate increases related to ML&P's construction of plant "2A," which was commissioned in 2016. If the stipulation is not accepted, ML&P will bear the burden of proving that construction of the plant was prudent. It could become a lengthy process. ML&P's representation, Dean Thompson, says that would be inappropriate.

"Anything that pushes us out pass February 28th, at this point, is putting the transaction in danger, from our perspective," Matthew Clarkson added, while speaking on behalf Chugach Electric Association.

Another potential snag could be the last minute decision by the Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium to withdraw opposition against that same stipulation. ANTHC filed the opposition last month, but told Judge Walker today that the group's issues "had been addressed at some level," and that the consortium did not wish to hold up "the larger set of transactions that are at play." When the judge pressed the matter, asking whether any form of inducement occurred, the ANTHC and ML&P said none had taken place.

"It was just talking about common interests and issues ... Ongoing discussions that began months ago, about things that are of no interest to this commission," Thompson told the judge.

At the conclusion of the meeting, Walker told all parties in attendance that it was up to the RCA to make it's choice on whether or not ANTHC's opposition would be dismissed, and ultimately — whether the stipulation in question would be deemed acceptable.

According to the calendar posted on the RCA's web page, another hearing is scheduled to take place on February 28. The day on which both utility providers have asked the commission to have a final answer.

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