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GVEA to cut electricity rates; residents may see 11 percent reduction

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Posted: Thursday, November 29, 2012 1:18 pm | Updated: 12:07 pm, Mon Jan 21, 2013.

FAIRBANKS — Golden Valley Electric Association ratepayers can expect to see electricity bills drop by about 11 percent on their next bill, the Fairbanks-area cooperative company announced Thursday.

That savings is largely the result of an agreement to resume purchasing gas-fired electricity from Anchorage-area Chugach Electric Association and the recent activation of the Eva Creek Wind Project near Healy.

Chugach Electric agreed to sell GVEA electricity over the state intertie through March 2015, GVEA interim CEO and President Cory Borgeson announced at the Rotary Club of Fairbanks

meeting.

Borgeson said the new agreement means GVEA will use less diesel or other expensive fuels to run its generators. GVEA had purchased electricity from Chugach Electric before, but fears of natural gas shortages halted that a few years ago. Borgeson said the sale resumed largely because of increased pressure from GVEA.

That, along with the addition of wind power, will show up as a 21.5 percent decrease of the Fuel and Purchased Power Charge, he said.

The announcement, which will translate to as much as a 13 percent savings to commercial and industrial users, was met with raucous applause from the

audience.

“We’ve got some news for you and it’s good news,” Borgeson said. “We’re going to see this is a big drop, and it truly is significant.”

The agreement with Chugach Electric will run through 2015, when GVEA can bring the mothballed Healy Clean Coal Project back online. Borgeson said the addition of the coal-fired plant will maintain, or possibly increase, the savings seen from the agreement.

Borgeson said a number of things on the horizon will help lower energy prices, including natural gas trucking to the Interior and other maintenance projects. However, he encouraged people to work at reducing power consumption and said ratepayers should consider an energy audit to find places to conserve electricity.

“We can’t rest here; we can’t stop yet,” he said. “This is a start.”

Contact staff writer Matt Buxton at 459-7544 or follow him on Twitter: @FDNMpolitics.

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