Anchorage voters will decide whether to sell city-owned electric company

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ANCHORAGE (KTUU) - The Municipality of Anchorage will allow the voters to decide whether or not the city can sell Municipal Light & Power, Anchorage's city-owned utility company, to Chugach Electric, a co-operative electric company.

Anchorage Mayor Ethan Berkowitz made the announcement Thursday morning.

"We have come to a point where we want to put a ballot proposition with the assistance of the Assembly asking the people of Anchorage for permission to sell ML&P to Chugach," Berkowitz said.

Through a vote, the city is proposing a $1 billion acquisition deal of ML&P to Chugach Electric. It's a deal that company representatives say will be good for both employees and good for residents of Anchorage.

[RELATED: MEA wants in as Chugach Electric, ML&P talk merger]

Here's how the deal would work: Chugach would pay a lump sum total of $712 million to cover more than $542 million of ML&P debt as well as $170 million in equity. Then, over the next 30 years, Chugach would pay $170,300,000 acquisition payment and $142,100,000 in lieu of taxes. All for a grand total of $1,024,400,000.

"We knew that for this conversation to be successful we needed three things. We needed to make sure that rates would not go up, and we need to make sure that the workers at MLP are protected and at Chugach, and we need to make sure the Municipality gets a revenue stream that continues to provide the services that we all need in this community together," said Chugach CEO Lee Thibert.

Mayor Berkowitz said he would not have approved such a proposal if he thought residents' electric bills would be at risk of increasing or if ML&P workers were not protected.

"There's more risk in standing still and hoping things change. The more we can stimulate business, the more we can insulate ourselves, the more we can have control over our own fate, I think the stronger off we're going to be. The risk here is doing nothing, the opportunity is in doing something," said Mayor Berkowitz.

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