HEA will not deregulate

Homer Electric Association will remain under the oversight of the Regulatory Commission of Alaska, the agency which oversees the pricing practices of public utilities in Alaska.

With 31.7 percent of HEA’s members returning ballots, 2,042 voted to withdraw from RCA oversight and 4,854 — 70 percent of members returning ballots — voted to remain. Three-hundred seventy-five ballots were discarded for being improperly filled out, according to the RCA’s announcement of election results, released Tuesday.

Because utilities often have monopolies over power delivery in a certain area, changes in a public utility’s rates must be approved by the RCA’s five commissioners, with the goal of keeping rates close to the amount needed to recover a utility’s expenses.

HEA, a cooperative that is the sole provider of electricity to about 22,892 members on the Kenai Peninsula, is allowed under Alaska statute to withdraw from RCA oversight by a majority vote of its members. HEA’s nine-member Board of Directors voted unanimously on April 12 to hold the deregulation election.

This October, HEA members received ballots posing the deregulation question with their electric bills, which were mailed in six waves, the last sent on Oct. 28. Members returned 7,271 ballots, which the RCA hired an accounting firm — Thomas, Head, and Griesen — to begin counting on Dec. 8.

HEA will be able to apply for a recount within the next 10 days. Under Alaska statute, the cooperative won’t be able to hold another deregulation election for two years.

“The HEA Board of Directors would like to thank each and every one of the members for voting on this important matter,” wrote HEA Director of Member Relations Bruce Shelley in a press release. “Almost one third of the membership voted which highlights one of the values of the cooperative model, enabling members to provide direction to their utility.”

 

Reach Ben Boettger at ben.boettger@peninsulaclarion.com.

More in News

Peter Segall / Juneau Empire
Members of the Alaska House of Representatives on Saturday rejected the budget bill passed by the Senate earlier in the week. The bill will now go to a bicameral committee for negotiations, but the end of the legislative session is Wednesday.
House votes down Senate’s budget as end of session nears

State budget now goes to negotiating committee

Peter Segall / Juneau Empire
Candidate for Alaska’s lone seat in the U.S. House of Representatives Tara Sweeney, a Republican, was in Juneau on Monday and sat down with the Empire for an interview. Sweeney said the three main pillars of her campaign are the economy, jobs and healthy communities.
Sweeney cites experience in run for Congress

GOP candidate touts her history of government-related work

One tree stands in front of the Kenai Post Office on Thursday, May 12, 2022, in Kenai, Alaska. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)
Kenai taking down hazard beetle trees

The city hopes to leverage grant funds for most of the work

Former Alaska governor and current congressional hopeful Sarah Palin speaks with attendees at a meet-and-greet event outside of Ginger’s Restaurant on Saturday, May 14, 2022, in Soldotna, Alaska. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)
Palin brings congressional bid to Soldotna

The former governor took time Saturday to sign autographs and take pictures with attendees

In this October 2019 photo, Zac Watt, beertender for Forbidden Peak Brewery, pours a beer during the grand opening for the Auke Bay business in October 2019. On Sunday, the Alaska House of Representatives OK’d a major update to the state’s alcohol laws. (Ben Hohenstatt / Juneau Empire File)
Graphic by Ashlyn O'Hara
Borough, school district finalizing $65M bond package

Efforts to fund maintenance and repairs at school district facilities have been years in the making

Peter Segall / Juneau Empire
Members of the House Majority Coalition spent most of Friday, May 13, 2022, in caucus meetings at the Alaska State Capitol, discussing how to proceed with a large budget bill some have called irresponsible. With a thin majority in the House of Representatives, there’s a possibility the budget could pass.
State budget work stretches into weekend

Sessions have been delayed and canceled since Wednesday

Peter Segall / Juneau Empire
Alaskans for Better Government members La quen náay Liz Medicine Crow, Richard Chalyee Éesh Peterson and ‘Wáahlaal Gidáak Barbara Blake embrace on the floor of the Alaska State Senate following the passage of House Bill 123, a bill to formally recognize the state’s 229 federally recognized tribes.
Tribal recognition bill clears Senate, nears finish line

Senators say recognition of tribes was overdue

The Alaska Division of Forestry’s White Mountain crew responds to a fire burning near Milepost 46.5 of the Sterling Highway on Tuesday, May 10, 2022, near Cooper Landing, Alaska. (Photo courtesy Cooper Landing Emergency Services)
Officials encourage residents to firewise homes

The central peninsula has already had its first reported fires of the season

Most Read