Town Hall discusses $1-billion sale of ML&P

ANCHORAGE (KTUU)- Members of the public got to speak out Monday evening at a town-hall meeting concerning the proposed $1-billion dollar sale of Municipal Light and Power to Chugach Electric Association.

Mayor Ethan Berkowitz, Chugach Electric Association and ML&P held the meeting to address concerns and questions about the potential sale of the city-owned electric utility.

Dozens of residents voiced their concerns. Ray Craig, an Anchorage resident, said he worries utility rates will increase after the sale. "There's no schedule or promises that are being made on what the rate reductions are likely to be, you've set no goals for yourself, there's no way to evaluate this " said Craig.

Lee Thibert, CEO of Chugach Electric Association said the transaction will not change rates.

"Increases in labor, those types of things, or a change in the number kilowatt hours sales, things are not in our control, we can't really do anything about, but due to this sale, the purchase price will not increase rates," said Thibert.

Eugene Carl Haberman, Matanuska-Susitna Valley resident, said more time and information needs to be given to voters.

"The more complex and complicated the issue, is the more opportunity for the public to be heard," said Haberman.

Bill Falsey, Municipal Manager said, the deal has been talked about for decades and the best time to move forward with the deal is now.

"We were motivated because we thought now is a good time, both because we can strike while the iron is hot while we have a good offer in hand, and also because interest rates are now at historically all-time lows, and if we wait too long, higher interest rates could scuttle the finances of this deal, so let's go ahead and do it now" said Falsey.

Chugach Electric said more informational meetings will be held.

Anchorage voters will consider a proposition on April 3rd to authorize the sale of ML&P to Chugach Electric.

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