Econ 919: Electricity rate-payers may get burned

Sep 27, 2019

    The monetary cost of the Swan Lake Fire, still smoldering between Sterling and Cooper Landing, has yet to be tallied up completely, but in addition to lost tourism and retail dollars due to the blaze, add increased electric rates — for some.
    Utility officials say the fire damaged the high-voltage power transmission lines that connect the Bradley Lake hydroelectric dam near Homer to the rest of the railbelt.
    In an announcement Monday, Chugach Electric, which serves the communities of Cooper Landing, Hope and Moose Pass, said its customers will have to make up the difference between the electric power provided by the Bradley Lake and more expensive sources, like natural gas or oil. And that means customers' bills are likely to go up later this year.
    The press release said Chugach customers could expect to see a 3 percent to 6 percent increase. Chugach Electric customers on average pay $123 per month for power, a company spokesman said. A three percent increase would tack on an extra $3.70 per month, and six percent an extra $7.40.