Hearing set for HEA proposal

Posted: Friday, February 11, 2011

The Regulatory Commission of Alaska has set a schedule for working through Homer Electric Association's proposed rate changes.

The hearing is scheduled for Oct. 24 at 9 a.m. in Anchorage.

At the Feb. 4 meeting, Homer Electric cleared up a number of details with the commission. HEA decided to waive its right to an interim rate change, meaning that customers will see just one change in their bills, whenever the changes are approved by the RCA.

Land's End Acquisition Corporation is in the process of asking to be a formal participant in the decision.

Land's End did not attend the meeting, and the commission has not yet decided whether to allow the company to participate.

Land's End is trying to represent its interests in the case as a formal participant. The corporation operates hotels and a small fish processing plant on the Kenai Peninsula.

Last week, Land's End representative John Faulkner said the company wants to intervene because as a large local business, changed rates could significantly affect them.

"We consume a lot of electricity, I guess," he said.

According to Faulkner, the company's first priority is understanding the rate changes.

"First and foremost our intention is to understand the merit of the increase," he said.

Faulkner said his company doesn't believe that HEA has adequately explained the need for the changes, nor how the rates will change. Land's End met with HEA as a customer, but did not get a satisfactory answer, he said.

Homer Electric has said that it doesn't think Land's End's interest is substantially different from the public.

HEA's Joe Gallagher has said the utility's major proposed changes would decrease the energy base rate, create a minimum monthly energy charge and increase the customer charge from $11 to $15. Homer Electric has said that the charges would more fairly represent the costs the utility has in getting energy to customers.

At a conference last week the commission said it is required to have the matter resolved by Jan. 26, 2012, but hopes to be done by Oct. 28.

Molly Dischner can be reached at molly.dischner@peninsulaclarion.com.



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